Dev Pathik on SFA’s Growth in Sports Tourism

Dev Pathik on SFA’s Growth in Sports Tourism

By Sam Boykin, February 14, 2019

Sports In His Blood

It was sports that helped Pathik, 47, survive an abusive childhood, he says. Growing up, a swim coach played a particularly important role in helping him make it through tough times.

“He challenged me. He raised me up. Sports are what gave me self-confidence and self-respect.”

This love of sports and an active lifestyle carried through to his adult life. Pathik served as an Outward Bound instructor and a wilderness guide. He also had a nose for business and founded and sold an international eco-tourism company as well as a corporate team development center. In the early 2000s, he was doing consulting work and developing everything from rock climbing gyms to team building centers when companies started hiring him to develop sports facilities.

“They were myopic in their thinking,” he says. “They considered themselves just a sports facility and we said no, you can also be a corporate event center, birthday party venue and religious center. That transformed the outcomes for those facilities. We started looking around and realized there was a real market here.”

This realization convinced Pathik and business partner Jason Clement to start SFA in 2003. Since then, Pathik estimates the company has helped develop about 65 complexes, totaling about $10 billion.

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