New CEO predicts exciting times ahead
John Lynch has returned home because of family and unfinished business.
John was CEO of Arena Manawatu for four years until 2006 and now he’s back for what he sees as ‘‘the exciting times ahead.’’
Since managing the sporting and cultural complex, now the Central Energy Trust Arena, John has worked in Auckland and latterly as manager of Venues and Events Whangarei, responsible for Toll Stadium, the Forum North Conference Centre and external events for the Whangarei District Council.
He is proud of his achievements in Northland where he’s put Whangarei on the map as an events destination. During his time there he’s been pivotal in delivering and attracting a Rugby World Cup Test, a rugby league test, a one day cricket International, a T20 international against England plus several other high-profile events including wine and food festivals.
‘‘The outcomes have been the key drivers to success,’’ he reflects. ‘‘Events such as these have a positive impact on the local community and bring significant economic benefits to the district.’’
He also believes he stopped a lot of the leakage to major centres, something he wants to achieve here in Palmerston North. Giving local people the opportunity to see top-level events at home means they don’t have to travel away to enjoy them and spend their money elsewhere.
During his time away John was always aware he was a Palmy boy. His family is here and he knew that, when the time was right, he’d come home.
‘‘What I’ve experienced is a broader range of skills and thinking and I want to bring that expertise and utilise it here. I had a sense of unfinished business,’’ John explains.
He’s the recipient of a major Master Plan plus reviews of the Arena complex and the Convention Centre and his priority is to implement them and develop strategies. As part of a balancing act he wants to maintain and enhance existing users but also attract more national and international events to the city.
‘‘We’re very busy with 39 different sporting codes who use the Arena but there’s an opportunity for more,’’ John comments.
For example he’d like to attract additional casual and passive users. During the day the Arenas have a lot of spaces and John and his team intend to appeal to social groups to use them. ‘‘I want to get that message out there. Why play netball outside when the weather’s unpleasant. Call us, we’ll make a couple of indoor courts available.’’
John Lynch regards the Central Energy Trust Arena as Palmerston North’s ‘‘jewel in the crown.’’
He says few cities have facilities like ours in such a central location.
‘‘I want to pitch Palmerston North out there so the country knows about our city and what it has to offer. It’s important to be around the table when decisions of national significance are made so we can promote our facilities to the major players,’’ he says.
While staff at the Convention Centre have done an excellent job, he says ‘‘we must make it more appealing for local use.’’ He acknowledges the venue needs freshening and updating.
‘‘A priority is to develop a brand to bring people back and make the connection. The word convention was appropriate at the time it was built but not now. In working hard on our sales and marketing to promote it to the people of Palmerston North, we must choose a name that they can identify with,’’ John says.
All this in just two months in the job – John’s unfinished business has begun.
John Lynch, recently appointed CEO of Central Energy Trust Arena.