Rod Wilson has enjoyed a long career as CEO of Port City Bowling Club. He shares his experiences, the ongoing challenges facing the club and his plans for retirement.
> You have been CEO for the past 26 years at the Port City Bowling Club. What have been some of the most memorable moments?
Being associated with the members and staff of the club and building up friendships with these people. Also, building professional relationships with consultants who deal with the industry have been perks of the job.
At the last AGM, the Directors presented me with a plaque inscribed Rod Wilson Terrace, which was placed at the Western Terrace; I was very pleased with that.
> It’s been an exciting time over the past few years for the club with renovations. What has been achieved … and where to from here?
It has certainly been an exciting time, with the first major renovations concluding in 1995. The club has continually renovated and improved their facilities, furnishings and equipment over the last 13 years, spending almost 13 million dollars during that period.
The last extensions included a fully serviced coffee shop, smoking decks, a new administration block, new automatic lift, a complete renovation buffet service area, new carpet, new furniture and additional parking for the disabled.
The club has large land holdings, including the site that they operate on and the greens associated with that area, a large block of land across the road which is parking only and a couple of other vacant blocks. So, I guess it will be a challenge for the Board of Management to explore avenues to better maximise the return from this investment.
We are proud to announce that the renovations are all completed, so we encourage people to come to the club and see for themselves.
> What are your own plans once you have left the position?
I am definitely staying in Port Macquarie at this point, because I see no reason to leave. I have built up a lot of friendships and acquaintances, and I will definitely stop in at the club to catch up on the weekends.
Also, my wife and I will be doing some travel within Australia at this point, and I will be spending time with my family. I have two children and seven grandchildren, so they will keep me busy in some way or another!
> Who are you handing the reins to?
I am handing the reins to Larry Collins, whose last position was at the Cabramatta Leagues. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry. He and his wife have been here for a few months now, and he already thinks he is in paradise – he absolutely loves it. I don’t think he will be going anywhere for a while. If I was to give him some advice, I’d say, “Have fun and enjoy the work – like I have done over the last 26 years.”
> What do you think about the current state of clubs and the regulations and restrictions that seem to control them?
Well, let me tell you, I have always enjoyed working, and it has never been an effort. But over the past 5 years, imposing regulations make it really hard.
It’s over regulated with respect to smoking bans, taxation, gaming and drinking restrictions. Every time you turn around there is some regulator picking you up on something that is not quite correct.
The last year of my working career has probably been the most difficult that I have ever experienced, with the introduction of indoor smoking bans, and the increase in interest rates, high petrol prices and the general cost of living has left little disposable income for people to spend on entertainment. I can only hope that the economy picks up in the future, so that clubs can continue the great work that they do inside the community.
> What have you enjoyed most about living here?
I love the climate; I love the area in itself. Not that I use the beach that often, but it’s there and that could change.
> What charity and community events have you enjoyed being a part of?
One event that I remember being a great success is the Bras for Breast Cancer. It was done in conjunction with 2MC, and it was a really fun time. Patrons handed in their old bras, and for every bra, the club handed in $1. We ended up receiving around 8,000 bras!
We also support the annual charities such as Jeans for Genes Day, Daffodil and Red Nose Day, and, of course, Anzac Day.
> Thank you Rod, and good luck.