Chuck Nelson is President & CEO of the Washington Athletic Club, a role he has held since February 2012. He took on the position after 13 years of being a member of the WAC and a varied and diverse professional career that developed the skillset needed to lead one of America’s top private city athletic clubs.
The Washington Athletic Club was founded in 1930 and celebrates its 90th anniversary on December 16, 2020. The 21-story clubhouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sits at the heart of downtown Seattle and serves 9,000-plus members. The WAC, a 10-time Platinum Club designee and top-five athletic club, is the Northwest’s premier social, fitness, and professional community and an anchor in Seattle, one of America’s most thriving, diverse, and rapidly evolving cities.
“We work hard to be great stewards of what the WAC has always been and also adjust to the changing needs of our evolving membership,” Chuck says. “Nothing has driven that point more than the changing dynamic of Seattle in the last decade and the pandemic-related creativity our teams have shown in 2020, finding new ways to serve WAC members.”
The WAC moved swiftly to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic and to reopen in the safest way possible.
Since Chuck took over leadership of the WAC, the Club has steadily grown its community involvement; strengthened its competitive sports program; completed a major lobby remodel; and modernized historical infrastructure, including a full replacement of the Club’s original 1929 elevator mechanics. The WAC also underwent a major HVAC upgrade that led to a substantial reduction of its carbon footprint.
Chuck also oversaw the establishment of the WAC Foundation, a nonprofit arm created to help preserve and enhance the historically significant Clubhouse.
“It’s been a great run so far,” Chuck says. “We have accomplished some big improvements that have benefited the membership and pushed the WAC forward. Our team members take a lot of pride in creating the absolute best environment and providing premier service to our members.”
A 1982 graduate of the University of Washington, Chuck spent five years in the National Football League. Returning to Seattle post-football, he entered the investment management world and also began a 20-year side career as the radio analyst for Washington Husky football games. In 2004, Chuck helped create and served as Executive Director of the PGA Tour Champions event in Seattle. He later moved into leadership work for a consulting firm. He serves on multiple community and business boards and is an active member of the CMAA Evergreen Chapter.
Chuck and his wife, Nanette, have two adult children, Emma (30) and Quin (27).