Peter Wooldridge

Vice President for Corporate and Continuing Education

Durham Technical College

Approximately 15 years ago, I decided to get serious about my health. I joined a gym and found a trainer. His name was Tom Stafford, a name known to many of the current members of EMPOWER Personalized Fitness. Tom was serious about his work. He was professional, patient, an excellent teacher, a great motivator, kind, and he practiced what he preached. He helped me to think differently about “getting healthy,” and he instilled a love for exercise that I carry with me today. In fact, I never thought of myself as athletic until I began working with Tom.

Through Tom, I had the opportunity to meet Jessica Bottesch, one of the current co-owners of EMPOWER Personalized Fitness. Like Tom, she impressed me with her serious and focused attitude, her professional manner, and her clear passion for her work.

Because of job changes, location changes, and other life events, I moved on to other gyms and other trainers, but I never found another trainer who seemed to enjoy his work like Tom, and no one was able to meet my health and exercise goals while making my exercise routines as challenging and fun.

Two years ago, I was in search of a new gym. I happened across EMPOWER, and found, to my delight, this studio was co-owned by Jessica, and Tom was a trainer there. I joined immediately. I quickly found that Jessica and her business partner, Ronda, had assembled a team of professionals who all share the same passion for, and dedication to, exercise, health, and fun!

I have never felt more “at home” at a gym. The sense of community the trainers embody creates a wonderful sense of camaraderie among the clients.

Recently, Tom moved out of state when his spouse was transferred. I began training with Angelo Iovino. Like Tom (and all of the other trainers at EMPOWER), his love for teaching and his dedication to helping his clients meet their training goals is truly inspirational. Angelo challenges me to be my best, and to give 110% every time I work out. He helps me to believe in myself and, frankly, I am amazed at the level of fitness I have achieved. More than that, Angelo and his colleagues go the extra mile when it comes to EMPOWER members. In my case, Angelo has helped me to resolve nagging knee pain I have had since knee surgery three years ago. I told him the doctor had said that I would have some residual pain, and I had come to accept that as my reality. Angelo didn’t like that answer and so began our work to remediate my knee. Today, I am largely pain free!

Joining EMPOWER was one of the best decisions I ever made. Truthfully, it is the closest thing to recess I have found as an adult!

Back to Our Clients