Reece Rackley is CEO and Founder of City Venue Management, one of Australia’s leading private managers of sports and aquatics facilities, with 1,000 staff handling 26 sites on behalf of three local governments in Southeast Queensland.
CVM evolved out of Rackley Swim School, established in 1998 by Reece’s parents, who ran a single school in Burleigh Heads - until Reece took over in 2004 and developed it into the large swim school and asset management company it is today.
In his spare time, Reece also runs a women’s fashion label with his wife called Silk Laundry, which has stores as far away as Montreal and Sydney with an imminent launch in Melbourne (Katie and Reece pictured in Brisbane).
As opposed to the overtly environmental focus of Silk Laundry, Rackley Swim School had a social mission at its heart from the outset. Enhancing people’s health and life through the ability to swim, drowning avoidance and lots of training courses on-site, including lifeguarding and first aid. Rackley Swim School now has over 25,000 active kids in its weekly swim lessons.
In 2016, times got tough at CVM, as they often do in business. Reece and his team took to the tools. To manage cash flow more strategically and retain the talent they had within the organisation, they deployed all of their Executive Team (including Reece and his business partner) out to manage the CVM sites. Essentially, with their Head Office manning the venues, they were able to reduce overheads and work their way out of that situation.
By 2018, with CVM on a firm footing, Reece started to look beyond the original social values of the organisation and became the driving force behind CVM’s “Environmental, Social and Governance” (ESG) framework. In particular, Reece says CVM were ignorant of their environmental impacts for a long time. He started to appreciate that as a very large water user, with huge electricity requirements for heating and sanitising that water, and with responsibility for the chemicals used in the water having a direct impact downstream, they needed to look beyond their everyday operations and the people they serve. They could also reduce their overheads at the same time!
He put the organisation on a path to explicitly valuing environmental, social and governance issues equally alongside the financial sustainability of the company. Reece and the team had a solar feasibility undertaken back in 2017 on a couple of facilities, but the time and price weren’t right. In September 2020, they were introduced to the BOOMPower team and confidently decided the time was right to act. Within two months of being (virtually) introduced to our Co-founder Alex, they procured over 800kW of solar for 11 facilities, which has also addressed power factor correction issues and kick-started their ongoing energy management via the BOOM platform.
Here's BOOMPower's Brisbane-based Andy McLay on-site at the CVM-managed Parkinson Aquatic Centre. It's a tough job...
Reece is now looking to the next stage, with a passion for innovation and new ideas. He’s confident the support of the BOOM software will mean they execute their big ambitions around energy efficiency and emissions. They'll measure and verify the results of the solar installations, continually analyse their energy usage, and use the insights gleaned to inform future initiatives.
To address their wider environmental impacts, Reece and the CVM team have developed a team of “Green Champs” - staff who take responsibility for reducing their environmental impact at each site. Bolstered by ESG Manager, Lachlan and HR Assistant Manager, Amy, they have engaged environmental student, Ben, to develop their strategy further and help them set future targets. They also get live data insights on emissions reductions from the BOOM platform, of course.
Outside of CVM, Reece began a reforestation and land regeneration program in 2020. His aim is to sequester carbon emissions by planting 166,000 trees (166 trees for every member of the CVM team). He has 30 staff planting trees on a monthly basis and intends for the whole venture to be profitable and scaling-up as a self-sustaining business, beyond its current reliance on CVM.
23 years after his parents established a single swim school, Reece has made CVM into a shining example of how a company can thrive financially by creating social good and eliminating environmental impacts.
When asked what he is most proud of, Reece immediately responded that he is a proud father first, entrepreneur second.
“Ignoring environmental issues would mean ignoring my kids' future - that’s one thing I won’t do.”Reece Rackley, CEO and Founder of City Venue Management
How did the BOOM! platform help Reece?
- Two months after being introduced, Reece and the CVM team had detailed energy assessments completed on 11 facilities and had run competitive procurement for 800kW of solar, which will also address power factor correction.
- Energy Aware were selected from BOOM's pre-qualified marketplace of local, national and international solar retailers.
- All data from solar inverters, billing and tariff details are now analysed via BOOM, with energy efficiency and management being recommended.
1. Schedule a free appointment - discuss your needs and view the BOOM! platform.
2. Create a personalised plan based on your specific needs.
3. Agree, refine and execute the plan - together.