By Sam Watson
THE Stony Creek Racing Club has a new CEO, Adam Olszanski.
After six years in the role, Sarah Wolf has moved on, but one of her final acts as CEO was appointing her successor, and everyone couldn’t be happier.
Club president Michael Darmanin said the club was thrilled to have someone with Olszanski’s calibre in the role.
“Adam has a rich experience within the racing industry,” Darmanin said.
“He brings with him some big plans and innovative ideas for the club.
“And we look forward to working with him to strengthen the club’s membership, develop our schedule of race day entertainment and ensure that our community continues to enjoy a great day if quality racing at Stony Creek.”
Olszanski, who has recently moved from Inverloch to Wonthaggi with his wife and two young kids, said he was very excited to start at Stony Creek.
“The last eight years or so I’ve been slowly getting through a business course at Monash University, and I’ve completed that earlier this year,” Olszanski said.
“So, it’s a good transition in many ways to use some of those skills and bits and pieces I’ve learnt in the course, combine it with my racing experience and the work I’ve been doing at Woolamai, and take on the challenge, which I’m looking forward to.”
Olszanski took on the secretarial duties at the Woolamai Racing Club in 2019, where he first started as a race caller as a 16-year-old.
And he said the club has been terrific to him ever since.
“They’ve given me the opportunity to refine my craft as a race caller, which has led to full-time work as a professional race caller in the industry.
“And again, in this role, they’ve given me the opportunity to ease into club management through a voluntary position on the committee, running their events over the last two seasons.
“So, Woolamai has been and will remain a club that will be close to my heart.”
Olszanski said he’ll maintain some involvement at Woolamai, but obviously the demands will be strong for him at Stony Creek.
He’s been calling races at Stony Creek for almost 10 years now, but he won’t have enough time on race days to reprise his role in the box.
But he will maintain his role at Racing Victoria, calling for racing.com.
Olszanski said he reflected on his recent efforts in the racing when he heard the job would be opening up at Stony Creek and thought he may as well apply for it.
“I was quite proud of what I’d achieved at Woolamai, especially with the COVID restrictions last year,” Olszanski said.
“I wanted to push myself and think that I was up to the challenge of running a professional race club, which runs TAB and televised race meetings.
“And being a short season and in many ways a part-time role, I felt that I could definitely handle the extra hours amongst my other passion, which is race calling.”
And he’s looking forward to building on what Wolf has been able to establish in previous years.
“I want to keep bolstering the race day experience for people,” Olszanski said.
“Getting to the races is a real social affair, especially at many of the country race meetings, and I want to continue making it a real family event.
“Sarah’s done such a great job since she’s been in the role, building on that family feel and inclusiveness Stony Creek now has.
“So, I’m looking forward to continuing her good work, and then finding opportunities to build crowd attendance and community involvement.
“We’ve got a very strong sponsor base of community businesses that are involved in the club and I’m going to continue working with them to look after them and also get others on board.
“And I’m going to make sure the racecourse continues to be a valuable community space and an asset for the local community.”
The recent restrictions have meant Olszanski hasn’t been able to chat to as many of his new co-workers as early as he would’ve liked but that chance will come soon.
His familiarity with the club will make the transition from Wolf to him pretty comfortable and he can’t wait to sit down with the committee and discuss their plan of attack for the future.
“I’m very fortunate to be stepping into a club that’s profitable and has been successful for numerous years,” Olszanski said.
“There’s some good capital works that have been undertaken there with the new tie up stalls for the horses.
“And I’ll continue to look at ways to improve the infrastructure and facilities there for not only the race day experience but for non-race day events.”
The first race day of the upcoming season at Stony Creek will be on December 27.