Driller Turned Fitness Executive Flexing Entrepreneurial Muscles











by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com

Londoner Ethan Williams didn’t need a gym membership to keep in shape while working as a driller in Saskatchewan and across Ontario. But that didn’t stop the 26-year-old Ingersoll native from questioning the traditional fitness club membership structure, and eventually creating a new way for anyone to gain access to multiple fitness facilities across Ontario.

In January, Williams, along with partner and childhood friend Evan McHugh, launched Gym Fleet, an online source providing multi-facility access for independent gym and studio owners through a mobile app and at its website, http://www.gym-fleet.com.

Ethan Williams

Designed to increase internal membership options, and to provide external members the ability to purchase discounted gym passes throughout Ontario, Gym Fleet has given Williams some muscle as an area entrepreneur. He’s one of 20 up-and-comers to be recognized on November 22 at Business London Magazine’s Twenty In Their 20s celebration.

This isn’t the first accolade for Gym-Fleet. Williams and McHugh were named co-winners of Community Futures Oxford’s 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. The organization granted the duo $1,000 to assist in the launch of Gym Fleet.

“Before I came home, I worked in deep well drilling – water well drilling – as well as geotechnical drilling, geothermal drilling and also environmental drilling,” Williams explained. “My job sites ranged from the middle of a farm to mansions at Lake Joseph in Muskoka. When I returned, Evan and I reconnected, and in 2016 we launched the idea of Gym Fleet.

“I realized that there was a real business opportunity here,” Williams said of Gym Fleet. “The traditional yearly subscription-based model has become less attractive to consumers. People want the ability to work out wherever and whenever, rather than being locked down to a single gym location.”

Gym Fleet provides flexible fitness access to a wide variety of workout styles, including weight room, CrossFit and yoga studios. Said Williams, “This makes it easier to find a gym that best suits the user, while also giving them access across the board to experience all that fitness has to offer.”

Offering pay-as-you-go and monthly memberships, but with no contract obligations, Gym Fleet allows you to search cities for fitness club options. A London online search, for example, delivers five facilities with options of one-day, five-day and monthly memberships.

Image: Gym Fleet.

Gym Fleet is constantly expanding its offerings, and plans to double its current staff of five employees. As company president, Williams said he relies both on the work ethic learned while working as a driller, and on lessons taught by his parents.

“We absolutely put a lot of thought and planning into our business before we launched, and we’re passionate about what we do. Our parents taught us to be the best that we can be, and taught us how to take the correct path in life,” he said.

“Today, entrepreneurship is very popular, so there’s so much information out there from various sources to help steer you in the right direction,” Williams added. “You can listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos and read blogs about being an entrepreneur. And the good ones will all tell you the same thing about strategizing and executing a game plan.”

Twenty In Their 20s will allow others to network with bright young minds like Williams. When yours truly launched his corporate communications office in 1989, the genesis of my business resembled more of a swim-or-sink venture, rather than a well-planned career move. Sure, I relied on my education and my passion, but as Williams explained, today there are many more tools available to young upstarts.

I’m guessing a longer chat with Williams and his Gym Fleet partner McHugh would prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

If You Go
Twenty In Their 20s
November 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Design House London, 186 York Street
Tickets $30 – visit Eventbrite.ca


Jeffrey Reed is a long-time member of the London sports media, publisher/editor of LondonOntarioSports.com, and LondonOntarioGolf.com, and an entrepreneur celebrating a 30th anniversary in 2019. Have a story idea for Jeffrey? Reach him at jeff@londonontariosports.com. Visit his corporate website, JeffreyReedReporting.com.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office https://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com. Sports journalist since 1980.

One Response to “Driller Turned Fitness Executive Flexing Entrepreneurial Muscles”

  1. Brenda Mitchell says:

    Great article
    Congratulations Ethan!