He’s well aware he has big shoes to fill, but incoming Marlborough Lines Stadium CEO Rob MacLean relishes a challenge.
The 48-year-old, a former School Director of Outward Bound NZ at Anakiwa, stepped into the new role last month following the departure earlier this year of Paul Tredinnick, the stadium’s boss since its 2000 opening.
Under Paul’s careful watch the stadium has become an award-winning facility, utilized by thousands of Marlburians.
Although he has been on-site for only a short time, Rob has been mightily impressed by the stadium personnel.
“There is such a lot of passion here. I have watched them with the youngsters and the other clients … they seem really good at what they do and they seem to love what they do. That’s a wonderful environment to be working in, it really is.”
Originally from Christchurch, Rob studied at both the University of Canterbury and the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, before starting work with the US National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) delivering leadership and outdoor skills courses. After working abroad for 10 years he returned home to help establish the NOLS New Zealand programme. Rob then worked out at Outward Bound before moving to Blenheim as a project manager and consultant in 2016.
With 20 years of experience managing high-performance teams, Rob feels his new role will be a perfect fit.
“I love working as part of teams … and I love being involved with people development … this organization is about developing people in all walks of life. Helping them get the most out of their life, being active, and that activity translates into so many other aspects of wellbeing … both in terms of mental health and all the dimensions of physical health … but also social cohesion, people feeling part of a community.
“I think the [stadium’s] tag line, ‘the centre of activity’, has some real meaning, it is a focal point for the community, across all ages.”
One of his first jobs will be a strategic review of the stadium, inviting stakeholders – clients, tenants, customers, school groups and sports codes – to offer their views on where they want the stadium to go over the next five to 10 years.
“There has been some huge work done in the community to get this facility up and running, it punches well above its weight for the size of the region.
“We want to know how we take it into this next phase, where is active recreation going and how do we position ourselves to be relevant, to support the interests, desires and aspirations of the people of Marlborough?”
His personal wish list for the stadium moving forward is relatively simple. “To be relevant, to be a hub for physical activity and social connection, to be as environmentally sustainable as we can get and to be a fun place for people to come to, where people always feel welcome.”
‘Making Marlborough the best place to live for all sections of the community through activity’ is a tagline that Rob identifies with.
“But we have to accept that the community’s needs are changing,” he warned.
“The way kids engage with sport is changing. How do we stay in front of that?
“Does it have to be technology versus activity, or can we incorporate both. I don’t know, let’s go and find out … it’s a pretty exciting space to be in.”