Steve started in the club industry in 1979 straight out of school, at what was originally the Tuggerah Lakes Memorial Club. After a few years in his first job as the storeman/cleaner, he was promoted to cellarman, then 1986 appointed as the Assistant Purchasing Manager, and later Purchasing Manager. These early roles gave Steve oversight into efficient ordering processes and stock levels and provided a strong grounding in the practical art of running food and beverage services to a budget.
In 1989, Steve moved into a new role as Sporting Control Manager, adding significant knowledge about building constructive relationships with sporting groups attached to the club and their importance to the local community.
In 1993 Steve was made the Maintenance Manager with oversight of all the clubs’ facilities and maintenance budgets, followed by a promotion to Acting Operations Manager in 1995. By 2000 Steve had completed his ACCM with the CMAA, and within a few years Steve was promoted to the position of CEO, a position he has held since 2006.
“I have been very fortunate to gain the knowledge I did in all areas of the club as a result of having performed almost all tasks at one time or another as I worked my way through the club.” says Steve.
Steve acknowledges the role of his mentor Tom Casilieris as pivotal in his career, and most of the knowledge he gained about club management was during the 10 years he spent under the wing of Tom.
“I was actually part of Tom Casilieris’ succession plan on his departure. When the opportunity came up and the job was offered to me, I will be honest and say that I did think long and hard about not taking it, chiefly due to the added stress it would bring as well as the pressure it would place on my family. But after discussions with those that matter in my life (mainly my wife Mercita), I decided to take up the opportunity but it would be on my terms and that I would take all the risks and so far all the risks have paid off”
Reflecting on his 40 years at Diggers Steve believes the company culture is what has made everyone’s work life remain interesting and engaging over the years.
“The “Diggers” culture has to be been seen to be believed. We are fortunate to have many long-term staff (and by long-term I’m talking about 25-30 years) coming straight from school like myself and who have been able to be more like mentors to the younger staff now joining us. Industrial relations issues are virtually non-existent in our club and the fact that we have been fortunate enough to win four out of five Outstanding Human Resource Management Awards (for medium sized club) at the ClubsNSW Awards for Excellence reinforces the fact that what we do, we do right, and that the staff we employ work at our club because they want to be there.”
Steve is currently overseeing a major refurbishment to be undertaken to the entire operational floor which will make diggers @ the entrance almost unrecognisable once the $2.5 million-dollar renovation is complete. The renovations will give the club a beachy open air feel, with a new eatery with floor to ceiling glass windows, a new kitchen / café and TAB and 2 new function rooms, a new kids play centre will be part of the new offering, as will a completely renovated trading floor once the makeover is finished.