Stan is the ever-present, but rarely seen partner in Summit Gyms. He's an ex-Team kid turned Team coach turned gym owner who's now a lot of the brains behind our 3 — going on 4 — gym operation. He spends hours locked away in an office, doing all the drudgework necessary to owning a business that no one else was willing to do. It's because of him that we actually know what we're doing enough to keep expanding, and he keeps us all thoroughly entertained by being the sole source of probably all original comedic content within the company. If it's funny, it's only because Stan said it first.
How long have you been climbing for?
I've been climbing for 17 years. I first started when I was 12. Alice's (another old-school Team Texan) parents took me to Exposure, and then I took a lesson with Kyle and joined the team.
How did you first become involved with Team Texas, and then the gyms?
When I was a junior in high school and still climbing on the team, I started helping out by coaching the B Team. I was like 16 or 17, and I started helping Kyle out by coaching before I would practice. Then — of course — when I got my license, I didn’t really climb that much anymore. So when I was a senior, Kyle was like, 'You know what? How about you don’t really climb for the team ... how about you coach for the team?' I was like, 'OK, cool.' So I started full-time coaching when I was like, 17 or 18. So for my senior year in high school, on Sundays I would coach from 4 to 6, then Kyle and I would drive to Denton to play hockey, then I would stay the night at his house, then wake up early in the morning and coach practice, then I would I go to high school, then I would come back and do Kids Club and then I would coach practice after. I was so tired all the time. But I still graduated!
Stan coached full-time for the team until 2009, when he and Kyle bought Summit Grapevine. Since running a business is actually kind of hard, Stan started coaching less and business-ing more until he became the CFO of Summit during the day, and just speed coaching by night.
Favorite Summit memory?
My favorite part was just nerding out on the business aspects and then just learning. Because we had no idea what we were doing. When we got the first Summit, I got some pointers from the old owner, but my best memories were of just Googling how to run a business. Everything I do for the business, I have to learn how to do. Like doing payroll, and finances stuff. Everything. But I've never taken any business classes, and didn’t graduate from college. We're learning everything as we go, and it's awesome.
What's in store for the future of Summit?
I want like, 1,000 gyms. I want a lot of gyms. We want to put more in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, but it doesn’t really matter to us — we just want to go where people will climb!
- What do you guys think? 1,000 more gyms?! WHO'S IN?!!!
Little known facts about Stan:
He and his family emigrated from the Ukraine when he was just 5 years old. Hence his super cool / yet impossible-to-spell last name. Plus, the fact that he DOESN'T HAVE A MIDDLE NAME.
Stan has a multitude of the most random talents. He's great at golf, frisbee golf, Etch a Sketch, and was, for a brief, glorious period, #1 in the world at Flipadelphia — the flip cup iPhone app, brought to you by the good folks responsible for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
He's pretty humble about it, but Stan is actually one of the best speed climbing coaches in the country. He's served as a speed coach for the U.S. National Youth Team for several years, and several Team Texas kids have National Speed Champion titles under their belt, as well as one World Champion.
His childhood dream was to be on ESPN Sportscenter as a sports reporter. For all sports — not just the cool ones.
Stan, for a several month period in the early 2000s, was one of the only routesetters at Exposure, before it became Summit Carrollton. His rating system for boulder problems was ... we'll say ... loose. If he could climb the problem in his tennis shoes without chalk, then it was under V2. Anything that required him to chalk up while wearing his tennis shoes was V2 to V4, but if he had to put his climbing shoes on, then it was V4 or higher. Unfortunately, Stan could do V7 in his tennis shoes, so every problem he set was devastatingly sandbagged. In his own words, "They were the worst ratings ever. I could do anything in my tennis shoes if I just tried hard." Just think of how far our bouldering has come!
If any of you had visited Exposure while Greg was still owning it, then you would probably have had to watch the old climbing orientation video that played on a constant loop in the gear shop. The video illustrated many of the basics — how to fit your harness, how to clip in, etc. But every part of the video was demonstrated by a teenage Stan, dressed in the most 70s tennis outfit in existence. Headband, wristbands, and the shortest of short shorts — this was the person teaching you how not to kill yourself while climbing at the gym.
Alright, you now know a bit more about Stan! Feel free to harass him with any of this information next time you see him outside of the office. The gyms are not just all work for him — he can occasionally be seen bouldering from time to time. But probably not in his tennis shoes ... so you know he has to be trying really, really hard.