PLAE adds fitness industry veteran Roy Simonson as director of product innovation

Fueling its mission to develop superior solutions that drive human performance, PLAE welcomes fitness industry pioneer Roy Simonson as Director of Product Innovation. With more than four decades of experience designing fitness equipment, and holding 30+ patents, Simonson will continue to create premium products that inspire movement.

“Roy is a uniquely gifted visionary, and we are honored to have him join the PLAE team,” said Brett Waits, president of PLAE. “His incredible ingenuity will inspire additional exceptional performance solutions that set new standards and evolve the industry.”

An Industry Legend
Simonson started his career in 1979 when he launched Eagle Fitness with his brother at age 26, and sold it four years later to Cybex International, Inc. While at Cybex, he introduced approximately 100 strength products, including the groundbreaking VR and VR2 selectorized lines, along with plate-loaded equipment and free weights.

In 2000, Simonson launched Ground Zero (later renamed FreeMotion Fitness) and revolutionized strength training with functional machines that featured cables and pulleys for user-defined motion. He sold Ground Zero to ICON Health & Fitness in 2002, and went to work for Eleiko for several years in 2015.

Planning to showcase eight of his own new pieces at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) trade show in 2020, which was cancelled due to the pandemic, Simonson wanted to partner with a likeminded company that viewed strength solutions as more than simply commodity items.

Opportunities to Excel
At PLAE, Simonson is realizing his vision to advance human performance by helping people get the most out of their body and live a healthier life.

“Most equipment in training facilities uses only a single plane, but we move in three dimensions in real life,” he said. “My goal is to build different tools for various applications – including new types of equipment and new ways to build strength, balance, coordination and proprioception.”

At age 69, Simonson is excited by the many opportunities he sees in the industry. “I am thoroughly impressed with PLAE and am looking forward to building performance solutions that we haven’t seen before, but that also are intuitive and enable people to progress at their own rate.”

Simonson’s inventions will be manufactured in PLAE’s new 90,000-square-foot innovation factory, which is equipped with high-tech machine tools, robotic welding and fiber lasers. The state-of-the-art smart factory represents PLAE’s philosophy that innovation never ends.

Currently being made there are the new PLAE ICONx racks, which are custom-built according to customer requirements, and include U.S.-made steel and various combinations and customizations with paint schemes, branding, grilles, J-cups, gussets and attachments.

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