Life Fitness Legends: Augie Nieto

by Lauren Kamm

March 07, 2012 // Category: Our People

At Life Fitness, there is company lingo and code names you can fake like you know—“Project Cutter,” “Fungle” and “ASAP”. But there is one name you better know: Augie Nieto, a Life Fitness legend.

As our current company president, Chris Clawson said it best “Augie was the co-founder of Life Fitness and piloted our company to prominence as the leading fitness equipment manufacturer in the world, but his greatest accomplishments came after he was diagnosed with ALS.” 

Taken in 1980, this photo is a snap shot of Augie’s early days with a small team of sales, one computer programmer and a couple friends:  (door)Pete Samuals; (middle) Will Faville, Wendy Lukes, Sean Lippert, Bill Bornstein, Mike James, Anne Lippert, Bob Farra; (bottom) Bryan Andrus, Augie Nieto; (photographer) Scott McFarlane

 

In 1977, a young Augie Nieto recognized the potential in a revolutionary fitness product, the first computerized exercise bike created by Dr. Keene Dimick, and launched the Lifecycle® brand upon the world. At $4,000, the bike was not an easy sell—the equivalent to a Corvette by today’s standards. Augie called upon his unwavering determination in the face of adversity many times over the next 40 years, but never was his drive for success tested more than in 2005 when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

To a person whose life is devoted to fitness, a disease that eats away at the body’s muscle could have been crippling, but Augie grew stronger. Since his diagnosis, Augie has worked with the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s ALS division to coordinate a cure-driven fundraising campaign called Augie’s Quest. He set out with a goal to raise $3 million towards the cause, a number overwhelming to some, but Augie called on his friends and drew tremendous support. [WATCH] And, with the help of Life Fitness, Augie’s Quest recently surpassed $30 million in funds for the cure.

Paying homage to the man who made the product a success, Life Fitness introduced a special edition Augie’s Quest Lifecycle exercise bike last year in the Augie’s Quest red and black colors, with his motivational quote “From Success to Significance” adorning the side of the machine. A $500 donation to the foundation is made on the sale of every Augie’s Quest Lifecycle sold.

As Life Fitness continues to forge stronger partnerships with Augie’s Quest and fortifies our relationship with the man himself, fantastic stories of Augie’s legend have resurfaced around the office and given employees a shot of hope and passion. As a company we continue to push boundaries in the way that Augie taught us, and live up to the reputation that he built.

Life Fitness will forever support Augie on his Quest and as Chris Clawson says, “They may call it Lou Gehrig’s disease, but it will be called Augie Nieto’s cure.”

 
Lauren Kamm
 

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