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“Treat people like you would like to be treated yourself.” With Charlie Katz & Frank DeSocio

Treat people like you would like to be treated yourself. I’ve had the privilege to meet a lot of different people in the bowling industry all over the country and have always been overwhelmed with how good people are, so I have always tried to do the same and pay it forward. Our world would […]

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Treat people like you would like to be treated yourself. I’ve had the privilege to meet a lot of different people in the bowling industry all over the country and have always been overwhelmed with how good people are, so I have always tried to do the same and pay it forward. Our world would be so much better if everyone treated others how they would like to be treated.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Frank DeSocio, a bowling proprietor from Wichita, Kansas.

Frank is the executive director of The Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA). As the executive director of the BPAA since July 2014, DeSocio’s mission is to ensure that the 3,400-plus members of the BPAA have the tools and guidance to run successful bowling centers around the country, as well as continue to innovate to make bowling an even more fun experience than ever before for people of all ages.


Thank you so much for your time Frank! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Mywife, Cathy, and her family (The Crums) were in the bowling business and that was how I was introduced to bowling. We married in 1982 and bought our first bowling centers in 1993. I was offered a sales and sponsorship position with Strike Ten Entertainment, bowling’s marketing component, in 2000 then the position of Executive Director of the Bowling Proprietors Association (BPAA) in 2014.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

One of the first sponsorship deals I negotiated was with ConAgra. We would get a free game of bowling on the back of their chicken potpies. We do this often with different products, however, there was a slight “miss” on my part when the pies were sold for $1 and thousands were sold. Our centers were flooded with free game coupons! Lesson learned: Vet all sponsorship specifics.

Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?

Good to Great by Jim Collins. I live by this book. I believe in getting the right people in the right positions and focused on greatness in all areas, so we aren’t just “good.” I don’t want to get sidetracked or not face the facts but understand what is important and what isn’t and do what needs to be done.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?

From the start of the BPAA, everything we do is about the members of our association and today that is still what our daily focus is. I, our managing directors and entire staff focus every single day on helping our members.

Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?

Even in the low times, it’s better to give than to receive. Giving is a way to establish a relationship. Creating relationships builds a network of key people who will be with you through the good times and the bad. Whether it’s a time to share information, serve as a mentor, help make a new connection or promote bowling, these relationships are so important.

Surround yourself with smart people. If you think you’re the smartest person in the room, get up and leave! You can’t possibly know everything about all aspects of your business, but you can find enough smart people to help you succeed, even knock it out of the park. With a proficient, professional team you can do almost anything…including weather the storms.

Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

My kids are grown and don’t live in my city so it’s a little different for me. More than ever before we’ve embraced video conferencing with FaceTime and Zoom rather than just a phone call like we used to do. Like everyone else, we’ve missed our family get-togethers.

Can you share a few of the biggest work-related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

Face-to-face meetings are the biggest issue for me. I believe whether a meeting is impromptu or scheduled, creativity and ideas start in a room with people. We have reconfigured our conference rooms to allow for social distancing and limited participants but it’s just not the same. I have always been a big believer in getting everyone in a room to talk!

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family, coworkers and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Everyone that knows me knows I am not one to get all worked up over things I have absolutely no control over or that I cannot fix it. I didn’t create this situation. It’s just something that has happened. I tell everyone to take care of their families and go to work every day. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and move forward. We must take guidance from our government and protect our communities the best we can. When you land in a pothole, don’t get comfortable in there. Get out and move forward!

Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?

Consumers will begin to cocoon again; stay at home more and be more family driven and family oriented. This is a huge opportunity for the bowling industry whether a center is in a rural community where it is the hub of the town or it’s in a big city. Families will need a great place the can get together for quality fun family time.

How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?

I’m not sure it will. Once there is a vaccine, I do think people will revert to what has worked for their families. It’s no different than some of the other significant historic events we’ve experienced in the past.

Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the post-COVID economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the post-COVID economy?

We plan to get our people back together with our members and plan to get our members back together on state and local levels so they can exchange ideas for the future, for our business, and for our families. We, at the BPAA, are a resource for our members and plan to continue to be so.

Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?

Reach out to your peers, your friends and family. Social distancing doesn’t mean no social contact. Video conferencing isn’t the same as being in person but still talking with your colleagues and letting them know we’re all in this together can make a difference. I don’t ever hang up the phone and not feel better for reaching out. These times are hard for some, especially those Type A personalities, but keeping engaged and in contact more than ever is so beneficial.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Treat people like you would like to be treated yourself. I’ve had the privilege to meet a lot of different people in the bowling industry all over the country and have always been overwhelmed with how good people are, so I have always tried to do the same and pay it forward. Our world would be so much better if everyone treated others how they would like to be treated.

How can our readers further follow your work?

Bowling Center Management magazine is the official publication of the BPAA.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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