Human Kinetics acquires Arizona firm to boost online courses

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign-based Human Kinetics has acquired an Arizona-based company that provides continuing education products for health and fitness professionals.

The company — Desert Southwest Fitness, also known as DSWFitness — was founded in 1980 and is based in Tucson. It specializes in self-directed distance learning and offers more than 150 print and digital continuing education products.

"We are enthusiastic about Desert Southwest Fitness joining Human Kinetics to expand our online fitness education courses," said Rainer Martens, president and founder of Human Kinetics, in a release.

Gwen Hyatt, president and CEO of DSWFitness, will serve as director of continuing education for Human Kinetics, working with Steve Ruhlig, vice president and director of Human Kinetics' Higher Education and Professional Division.

Tish Monroe, the chief operations officer at DSWFitness, will become Human Kinetics' continuing education operations manager.

Human Kinetics CEO Brian Holding said the deal closed Friday. DSWFitness has five employees, all of whom will be joining Human Kinetics, which has nearly 300 employees.

The Arizona company has annual sales of about $1 million, and Holding said Human Kinetics' sales are about 30 times that.

But DSWFitness does more business than Human Kinetics in the continuing education field for fitness and nutrition professionals, Holding said.

There's some duplication between the two companies' customer lists, he said, but "we're going to serve a wider market and develop more products to build the continuing education program."

In many cases, fitness and nutrition professionals use the courses to earn continuing education credits that help them maintain certification.

Holding said Human Kinetics will keep the Tucson location "for a short while," and after that, the Arizona staff will be telecommuting.

It's likely Human Kinetics will continue to use the DSWFitness name on existing products and evaluate what name to use on new products, he said.

Holding said the deal came about after Human Kinetics learned last November that Hyatt, DSW's founder, was interested in finding a partner that could bring a greater technology component to DSW's online courses.

"Working with Human Kinetics was attractive because we had the technology," Holding said.

Human Kinetics is a worldwide publisher on sport and physical activity. In addition to its offices at 1607 N. Market St., C, the company has international offices in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The DSWFitness purchase is one of very few acquisitions in Human Kinetics' history, Holding said.

"We've achieved our growth through organic growth," he said. "This is a good fit. We want to grow our continuing education programs, and DSW is one of the leading continuing education companies."

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