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Blog; Practitioner director (Owners) Paul Ephremsen

I am now a few weeks into the role of Owners Representative. In order to best represent the interests of owners I want to approach this role in a considered way, eventually developing some clear and transparent objectives and a strategy to achieve them.

 

It’s a very complex sport with so many stakeholders. I needed to get myself up to speed with many of the industry’s challenges, so I have spent the past couple of weeks meeting and listening to the views of many insiders within greyhound racing such as Barry Faulkner, Kevin Ackerman, Bob Boswell, Ben Keith, Floyd Amphlett, Steve Fluin, Clive Lawrence and Kevin Perisi.

 

My first learning is that whilst I need to have a grasp of all industry issues, it is important that I focus on an agenda specifically related to ownership. I have made observations and comments regarding the need for a more strategic approach and plan for the industry, and I hope the new incoming CEO will take responsibility for developing a clear, measurable plan for the future. In the meantime, I am going to ensure my involvement is focused specifically on ownership initiatives.

 

My first task has been to assemble an Innovation Panel – a group with great experience of the sport that will meet 3 times a year and focus specifically on new ideas for a.) dramatically growing ownership numbers and also b.) how the total experience of owning a greyhound can be improved. We will be doing our best to innovate and capitalise on the positive opportunities ahead. I am delighted to announce that the following people will be joining my panel:

 

  • Stuart Forsdyke

  • Dave Lawrence

  • Steve Fluin

  • Paul Millward

  • Diane McLean

  • Kevin Ackerman

  • Floyd Amphlett

  • Peter Harden

     

    My intention is that this panel will help me to make recommendations to the board, as well as hopefully secure budgets to implement initiatives that we as a group consider to be for the benefit of owners. This group will meet for the first time in July and I will of course provide a summary of any key recommendations to owners via this blog and other channels.

     

    I have also been keeping a close eye on all the topics and ideas being shared by owners on various social media platforms. I have collated many of these and I will ensure these are discussed by my panel as appropriate.

     

    My next task is to assemble a team of regional representatives (hopefully 6 but I’m flexible on this) who can be my eyes and ears at tracks and can ensure I am aware of issues happening at a local level. Ideally, I want to avoid having a rep at every track in the short term so any owners who consider themselves to be well connected with owners, ideally covering more than one track, please get in touch with me at pe@idagency.com.  My intention is for this group to meet together a couple of times a year to discuss common problems and share ideas for change which I can hopefully get onto board agenda’s.

     

    In other matters, I have made a recommendation that Bob Boswell joins the Welfare Committee – I hope to be able to confirm this soon. Bob and I have met and started to formulate an agenda of welfare related issues. My intention is for Bob and I to meet many advisors and owners about this sensitive topic before we agree some specific objectives here. And of course, the topic of welfare should be handled at a strategic level by the board so there is a fine line of responsibility for us to navigate here.

     

    Many of you will also have seen Zoe Hadley discussing the need for an apprentice scheme on RPGTV. I know that the GBGB are investigating the complexities and regulations of setting up such a scheme. I realise this is not specifically an owner initiative but I do know it hasn’t been ignored and a suitable decision will be made once the practicalities are understood.

     

    Finally, as any greyhound fan will know, the Star Sports Greyhound Derby starts this week at its fabulous new home of Towcester. I am so excited that this will be such an incredible showcase for our sport. Let’s all get behind it and raise the roof on finals night. I hope to see many of you there in the coming weeks.

     

    Paul