Dave Brett

Forty Under 40 Winner 2017: Owner and head coach, Griffins Boxing & Fitness, Age 39

In today’s world, the fitness sector is ruled by an overabundance of choice, hot trends and digital pizzazz.

But Dave Brett entered the training game when a bricks-and-mortar building was one’s home page, and word of mouth one’s online rating.

“Griffins was the first boxing gym in the entire country to have a website ... so you could imagine how old-school the industry used to be,” Brett said.

“Now, if you don’t have Instagram, you are obsolete.… Members have the ability to book online, to try studios via drop-ins, to see the culture of your business through social media. It has changed a lot.”

But his passion and persistence has led Griffins Boxing & Fitness into the new era of digital. Brett said his purpose was always clear.

“I have known since I was young that I wanted to work with people and to help build them. It was after reading The Power of One that I knew boxing was my tool to do this.”

Brett first graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor of science degree and, to add to his qualifications, he obtained his professional coach certification and a Level 3 designation from the Boxing Canada National Coach Certification Program.

When Brett opened his facility in North Vancouver, he preached an approach to boxing that broke with some of the sport’s widely held assumptions about training. It was this approach that garnered him national recognition. His two boxing programs, called Boxfit and Boxtech, and his inclusive approach to teaching boxing to people of all skill levels earned him a place on the short list for the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Young Entrepreneur Awards.

Now, Brett owns the largest boxing and fitness gym in the country. The company is projected to reach annual revenues of over $1.5 million and has almost doubled in size in the last two years.

The boxer turned businessman is also an avid supporter of breast cancer awareness research and gives back locally by providing troubled youth with an avenue to build their skill in the ring.

Birthplace: Bulawayo, Rhodesia

Where you live now: North Vancouver

Highest level of education: B.Sc. from University of British Columbia (life sciences), certified Canadian coach, NCCP national level coach

Currently reading: Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

Currently listening to: AC/DC, Hells Bells

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Race cars or be a doctor. But knew I would always build a business

Profession you would most like to try: Venture capital investments

Toughest business or professional decision: “Letting go” so the business could grow – but this was the best decision, too

Advice you would give the younger you: Tell the internal bully/doubt to back off earlier, and to go for the dream by hiring the best people

What’s left to do: So very much

Join us to celebrate the 2017 Forty under 40 Awards on January 23, 2018, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit http://www.biv.com/events/40under40