Cycling Southland role good fit for acting GM

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 19/04/2014

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It doesn't hurt that acting Cycling Southland general manager Walter Lettink is a keen cyclist.

Lettink has taken up a six-month part-time role with Cycling Southland as it continues to chart a path away from its difficult financial situation.

In February, incoming general manager Phil Culling pulled out of the job before he'd even started because of serious concerns at the state of Cycling Southland's books.

Club president Lindsay Jordan has since dedicated much of his time to ensuring the organisation could continue to pay its bills and the role which Lettink has taken over has subsequently been reduced from fulltime to 24 hours per week.

That suits Lettink, whose wife, Agnieszka, is an anaesthetist at Southland Hospital. The couple arrived in Invercargill in November and have a two-year-old daughter.

"The role here was just a really good fit in terms of my interests as a keen cyclist myself, and being able to balance that against my other priorities."

Lettink has flitted between road racing and mountainbiking and has had a wide collection of bikes, including a unicycle which he's yet to master.

"I like to get out there, at the moment it's more recreational but I've raced in the past. I spent quite a bit of time overseas where I saw the likes of the Tour de France and some of the world series mountainbike events."

Lettink comes from an engineering background, his last role as general manager for an engineering company and before that he was the technical manager at a technology company.

He also worked overseas in automotive product development, and while there was part of a cycling club, organising events as part of fundraising activities.

Despite Cycling Southland's financial issues, the club remained in good heart, Lettink believes.

The focus would continue to be on delivering the programmes the club had delivered in the past, as well as operating sustainably.

"We've got a good membership base and some really committed supporters. That part of it is very refreshing. There's a lot of passion and enthusiasm there and when you look at what Cycling Southland delivers in terms of events compared to other clubs, it's very impressive. For an outsider, it's exciting to be part of that."

Cycling Southland has also hired a new development officer, with Irishman Nick Longworth arriving in Invercargill later this month via Singapore.

"He's very keen, he's an endurance cyclist as well. He's been involved in some events management and we are very excited to have him on board."

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- Fairfax Media

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