Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY FOR?
A: 22 years (since I was 16 years old)
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE AQUATICS AND LEISURE INDUSTRY?
A: My first paid position was as a Swimming Instructor for the SA VACSWIM program at Lucky Bay Beach on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia
Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
A: I love the diversity in my role, no day is ever the same and I am a ‘jack of all trades’. Pool managers are, PR agents, HR consultant, Accountants, Lifeguards and labourers all rolled into one.
Q: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MOST CHALLENGING DAY?
A: Everyday has its challenges but some of my most challenging days at the centre have come mid to end heat wave. Heatwaves are challenging as the longer they go on the harder managing a facility is: staff and patrons get progressively more fatigued and grumpy, plant and equipment is challenged and safety risks increase exponentially as each day of the heat wave continues. In 2008 South Australia experienced 15 consecutive days above 35 degrees- hands down my most challenging period in the industry- thank fully this occurred with no major incident recorded.
Q: WHAT CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT IN YOUR JOB / WHAT IS IT THAT YOU VALUE IN YOUR JOB THE MOST?
A: My team, and the people working with me are my biggest asset. Employ good people with a common goal and interest and you cannot go wrong. The thing I value most in my job is the capacity to have ‘fun’ and a ‘laugh at work, Swimming Centres are places built for fun, recreation and fitness, not many places of work are specifically designed with this sole purpose and that’s why I love the industry, it’s hard to not have fun and I highly value this ‘perk’.
Q: WHAT SKILL WOULD YOU LIKE TO MASTER? (PERSONALLY OR PROFESSIONALLY)
A: I would love to be able to fly a plane or helicopter better if I could just fly myself.
Q: WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVISE FOR SOMEONE STARTING IN THE INDUSTRY?
A: A few things- in our industry we work when everyone else is having fun (weekends and holidays) if you don’t accept this you won’t last long in the industry. Also come into the industry with more than one string to your bow- you will get more work and be more employable if you can do more than one thing. For example if you have your lifeguard credentials compliment them swimming instructor or group fitness credentials, believe me it helps when looking to be recruited and to pick up more hours at the centre.
Q: WHAT COULD YOU GIVE A 40-MINUTE PRESENTATION ON WITH ABSOLUTELY NO PREPARATION?
A: Water Safety in general but also the Watch Around Water program, I am very proud of my affiliation with this safety initiative and could talk for hours on its benefits to commercial facilities
Q: WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR JOB EASIER?
A: Government funding agencies (local, state and federal) having a broader understanding of the benefits of recreational facilities in our communities and better measures for this understanding instead of measuring all things in dollars and cents.
Q: WHO HAS BEEN AN INDUSTRY / AQUATICS INSPIRATION TO YOU?
A: I have had so many great mentors over the years Matt Grant, Gorgon Friend are a two that come to mind in regard to my personal professional development. However, Gary Johnson from ‘See Clearly Now’ I believe is a huge inspiration for our industry, his story and training is absolutely second to none and has become the corner stone for all staff training I deliver at Unley Swimming Centre.
Q: IF YOU COULD TRAVEL WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
A: Italy- hands down for the food and the lifestyle.