The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 25, 1988 · Page 124
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 124

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Thursday, August 25, 1988
Page 124
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, 4-M Thursday, Aug. 25, 1988 COVER STORY t1H - r , --'! Jh - 1 1 ' ' H Julicher (left) at site of new offices. With him are Bruce Cheskin The Philadelphia Inquire;, , k 1 J . vr . , , . , t , , , . f Special lo The Inquxet EILEEN HYAN (right) and Andy Schofield. f 'I JL , EVt V Hank Julicher's firm brings in several million dollars a year. Black sheep runs business into the black By Tim Panaccio Inquirer Stilt Writer You might say Hank Julicher is a genuine Sunkist worshiper. To him, life is just an orange. "You squeeze and squeeze until nothing is left," he said. "I got plenty of juice left." Julicher does nothing halfway. As the founder of Julicher Athletic Facilities Inc. in Conshohocken, he turned a fondness for tennis into a multimillion-dollar, international business. Julicher is flamboyant, outspoken and not the least bit modest. And he's a six-time college dropout. "My major was matriculation," he said. "1 came from a conservative Main Line family, and everyone from families like that had to go to college. If not, you went to Vietnam." Julicher, 40, who was brought up in Bala Cynwyd and now lives in Chesterbrook, went to Arizona State University on a tennis scholarship in 1965. Trouble was, he enjoyed tennis more than his studies. "College just wasn't for me," he said. "I had to find out who ! was and what I wanted to be. I guess I was the black sheep in the family. Not necessarily bad, but different." Either way, the black sheep appears to have done quite well for himself. Julicher Athletic Facilities has grown from a one-man operation in 1969 to a 60-employee company that earns more than $5 million a year in the United States and more than double that amount overseas. (He declines to say how much.) The company designs, manufactures and constructs athletic facilities. Simply put, Julicher builds recreational dreams swimming pools, racquttball and tennis courts, fitness clubs and outdoor tracks for schools, universities, hotels and casinos. Although Julicher specializes in commercial development, he re ' ' i i f ' fit , W ? rf . serves time for select individuals. Bill Cosby and Mario Andretti, among others, have Julicher-built tennis courts. To understand where Julicher is today, you have to go back to where he was 20 years ago. That's when he began planning his future during cross-country adventures between stints at college. Along the way, he sold encyclopedias to keep from starving and picked up extra money doing TV commercials and stunt work in Hollywood. "1 showed up at the casting call for a hair commercial once," Julicher recalled. "All these young guys are primping their hair. 1 turned around and said to the director, 'I thought you wanted a real man.' I got the job." The jobs and bit parts didn't last long before Julicher was again thumbing his way along Route 66. "I wanted to experience everything," he says. In 1969, he returned to the Main Line flat broke but richer in his belief that "the object isn't to win but to do." He borrowed S800 and bought a 1953 pickup truck that would become his workmobile. Bill Sweidcl, an acquaintance of Julicher who lived in Merion, wanted a swimming pool and tennis court. Julicher remarked one day that he would build them for $.10,000. "Sweidcl said to me, 'That's it kid, you're in business,' " Julicher said. "What more could I ask of a guy? lie gave me my first job." From then on, Julicher's clients came via word of moulh. Among his company's projects: the Atrium Paddock Area at the Garden State Race Track; a $350,000 running track at Council Rock High School; tennis courts at Trump's Castle; paddle tennis courts at Ilarrah's Marina; tennis courts for the Marriott and Hilton Hotel chains worJdwide; a health club in I .a Paz, Mexico, and even the

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