Tavistock exec’s commitment is building Lake Nona’s sports empire

Lake Nona is one of Central Florida’s fastest-growing regions and a hotbed for new development in all aspects including and wellness.

Inside Lake Nona is a burgeoning 300-acre sports district that’s home to the U.S. Tennis Association’s $100 million USTA National Campus and the future $20 million Orlando City Soccer training facility.

The sports district also has plans for a new eight-story Lake Nona Resort catering to sports performance and well-being, plus a planned water sports park.

Further, the region intends to seek to become the home of USA Gymnastics. The team is leaving its Texas home for a new location and Lake Nona executives have voiced their desire to bring the team here.

At the head of many of those discussions is Andy Odenbach, vice president of sports ventures with Development Co. He is spearheading many efforts by the firm to develop Lake Nona into one of the most cutting-edge sports communities in the world.

Here, Odenbach tells Orlando Journal more about future plans, his goals for 2018 and more:

What are your business goals for 2018? We are working on a number of significant projects right now at Lake Nona. Unfortunately, a number of non-disclosure agreements have been signed that keep me from getting too specific, but if we can announce at least two, then it will be a great 2018.

What are your personal goals for 2018? To make sure I am maximizing quality time with my teenagers. We already have one at Florida State University, and before you know it, the other three will be out of the house, too. I also am looking to shave a few minutes off my time at St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg at the end of this month.

What’s the latest on the efforts to bring USA Gymnastics to Orlando? They still have plenty of things they are working through with a new CEO. I wouldn’t be surprised if a request for proposals is released in the next few weeks.

If you could add anything sports-related besides gymnastics to Lake Nona, what would that be? We recently announced a 110,000-square-foot-plus, medically-integrated fitness facility, in partnership with Signet and Integrated Wellness Partners, last month during the Lake Nona Impact Forum. We need to nail the design, programming and partners. If we do this right, it will become a resource that other national governing bodies, professional athletes and amateur athletes all will want access to, regardless of where they live. You will love being a member to access everything this center will have.

What about the culture of Lake Nona impresses you most?People generally want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. At Lake Nona, people recognize that we are building a city within a city – together. The “together” part is critical to the culture. It’s not about a developer and the residents who happen to live there. It’s an entire ecosystem of people, families, workers, companies, ideas and values that together create this place where great things can happen.

What’s a motto you live by? If you’re going to commit yourself to something, then make sure you are “all in” and give it everything you’ve got. This isn’t just a work thing, it’s a parent thing, it’s a spouse thing, it’s a personal thing, as well. If you can’t give a maximum commitment, then don’t do it. I learned it the hard way, by having those moments when I didn’t fully commit and ended up being disappointed with myself.

Who inspires you to get up and work every day? I used to get up and grind every day for me, but now it’s for my kids. I’m simply hoping the hustle wears off on them.

What do you do to wind down after a busy day? Cook or have a glass of wine with my wife on the couch. Sometimes both.

What are your top three sports or physical activities? Swim, bike, run and golf — oops, that’s four.

What’s your guilty pleasure food? Do India pale ales count? There are lots of carbs and calories in there.

What current businessperson inspires you? I was invited to a KPMG women’s leadership summit and was really impressed with Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM. She is intelligent, well-spoken and knew the ins and outs of her business. Nothing was given to her and, most importantly, she really seemed to care about her employees and customers. I truly believe if you care about your customers and care about the people who work for you, the results will be there.

Who is a non-living businessperson that inspires you? Anyone who had the courage to create something incredible when society told them they were nuts. Think Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs or the Wright Brothers. I’m a sucker for big ideas and perseverance.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career? Stay humble, stay hungry, listen, help everyone you can and don’t take yourself too seriously.