Hilzinger’s big plans to grow the GBOTA

By DAVID BRASCH

ALLAN Hilzinger took his family to Wentworth Park back in April to watch the running of the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg.

It was a highlight for Allan, his wife Lari and daughters Verona, 14, and Hollie, 12, to witness the explosive She’s A Pearl win the final.

But the family had a few things about the night they did not enjoy and Lari decided she would send the Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) an email with her concerns.

“She looked up the website and saw that Steve Noyce was stepping down as general manager of the GBOTA,” Allan said. “It all stemmed from there.”

“IT” is the fact Allan Hilzinger, 43, has just been appointed the new CEO at the GBOTA and he brings to the position a lifetime involvement in greyhound racing, sport administration and successful business management.

Allan, and his 73-year-old dad Keith, are passionately involved in greyhound racing and mid-June had Integrity Mate a finalist in The Thunderbolt, the $75,000-to-the-winner glamour 350m race at Grafton.

“We’ve bought a greyhound property on the Northern Rivers and have hundreds of thousands involved in our passion for the industry,” Allan said.

Keith had worked for decades with the late Gary Ralph and was a familiar face for many, many years at Ralph’s Mount Tamborine education and training complex.

Allan admits he was not planning to go back into the sporting world when he spotted that advert for the GBOTA’s new CEO.

“But I contacted the recruiting guy, had a few tough interviews and here I am,” he said of the announcement that he was the new face of the GBOTA.

He is fully aware of the immediate priorities for the association.

“The GBOTA’s lease on Wentworth Park ends midway through 2027 and we are already in discussion with the State Government about moving,” Allan said.

“Talks are happening but not really progressing and I am certain we will have good conversations with the government. A few venues have been looked at already.

“We will need to find the right location. With a state election planned for early next year, we want to have something locked in.

“A new metropolitan track will be a game changer for the GBOTA and greyhound racing, and I want to be part of all that.”

Allan HIlzinger grew up in Sydney, worked for the city’s casino out of university where he had obtained a degree in business studying sports management.

He worked at sports stadiums and then he and his wife headed to Japan.

“Lari wanted to work in Japan, so we went there and she taught English, got a degree in public relations and took on a HR management role in a major company,” he said.

“I had played basketball all my life and coached kids. We went to Japan in 2001 and I set up an elite basketball program catering for kids from all over Japan. We took teams to Australia.”

The couple lost an infant son in 2006 and it meant time to return home.

Allan was CEO at Darwin Basketball for two years, then move to the Gold Coast for a similar role.

But since then business has taken over. He and Lari established an online homewares store and then got involved with health and wellness products, both of which they still run.

“Four years ago a mate and I started a business consulting company which has been very successful as well,” he said.

Of his new position, Allan, as a hands-on industry participant, says he has some strong ideas of the way the GBOTA can grow.

“The commercialisation of the GBOTA will be a priority of mine,” he said. “Sponsorship will be important, and so will communication.

“I believe keeping people informed is so important.

“Sometimes industry participants can feel like there is a gap between those in charge of an industry and themselves. I will make sure that changes.”

Being an owner and breeder with a substantial investment in greyhounds, he is aware of any possible conflict of interest.

“I have brought this up myself and have made it very clear this will not happen,” Allan said.

The GBOTA have backed Allan Hilzinger to take over from Steve Noyce and guide their greyhound racing interests into the future.

He is just the man to do that.

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