Forrest Walden '98
Founder/CEO, Iron Tribe Fitness
|award:||Entrepreneur of the Year|
|company:||Iron Tribe Fitness|
Walden, who earned a degree in exercise science from Auburn’s College of Education, started Iron Tribe Fitness in the two-car garage of his Birmingham home in October 2008. Back then, Walden, his wife, and two friends began experimenting with a blend of fitness training and nutrition programming as a way to balance physical fitness against busy schedules.
Iron Tribe has expanded far beyond its humble garage beginnings with more than 60 locations in 15 states. In 2014, the company placed 602nd on Inc. magazine’s list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies and was included in the Empact Showcase honoring the impact and diversity of young entrepreneurs. Iron Tribe also earned Infusionsoft’s Ultimate Marketer honors in 2012 and featured recognition in Entrepreneur magazine’s piece, “Why Early Adopters Will Win the Game.”
“His company contributes to the business community by the example it sets by its focus on a clear mission, developing a compelling brand and creating quality jobs,” said David Gray, President and CEO of Daxko and a 1993 Auburn University alum. “Through their franchise model, they also provide life-changing entrepreneurial opportunities for franchise owners.”
Walden’s core mission for Iron Tribe focuses on the creation of “fitness communities that change lives … all around the world.” That mission extends beyond building muscle and endurance. Under Walden’s guidance, Iron Tribe Fitness has raised more than $500,000 for non-profit organizations and sponsored development of clean water wells for villages in India and the Sudan.