Meet The Team - Gary Watson
Gary Watson is Director of Operational Services with Live Active Leisure, and is based at head Office as part of the senior management team.
Gary has worked in the sports and leisure industry for over 30 years, both in the local authority and trust sectors. His wide and varied career has seen him manage large multi-use facilities, swimming pools, sports centres, stadiums, outdoor facilities and fitness centres across Scotland.
From facility management to sports development, studying for his Masters degree to running large events such as concerts, he really has seen every corner of our great industry.
Day to day, he is responsible for the overall management of the Company's Operational Service Delivery which includes the wide range of facilities and services Live Active Leisure offer. Strategic development, environmental management, asset and property management, project delivery, business development and team leadership all fall under his busy remit. He also sits on the PH2O strategic team, and is a key member of this ambitious £25million project.
Most recently, he has been appointed into the lead role of the new LAL Environmental Champions group. Heading up an enthusiastic team from across all areas of the Company, Gary has set the challenge to make LAL a greener, more efficient Company striving to make positive change both internally, and within the wider communities it serves.
Quick Fire Q & A
- How long have you worked for LAL and what was your first job with the company?
I started work with Live Active Leisure in November 2007 so that’s 11 years and 6 months ago! My first job was as Projects & Development Manager which I really enjoyed.
- What do you enjoy most about working for LAL?
Having worked for several sport and leisure organisations I really appreciate the positive aspects that Live Active Leisure strives to make happen. We have great staff who work really hard and offer a great deal of support and help both to our customers and to their fellow colleagues. This attitude runs deep throughout all areas of the Company, and is something that should never be underestimated when it comes to providing great customer service.
I’d also say we are a Company that faces things head on - the good and the bad. We don’t shy away from our responsibilities to the communities we serve and are constantly looking for ways to improve. I could go on to be honest; there are so many positive points but for me, these are the big reasons that make it easy to come to my work every day!
- What is your favourite sport or class - either as a participant or a spectator?
I’m a big sports fan! I like watching a variety of sports – everything from Formula 1 to swimming, boxing and athletics. In fact, I’m generally glued to the TV when major events such as the Commonwealth Games and Olympics are on.
Personally, I enjoy keeping fit – I like to get up and into the gym before work and I also enjoy running, cycling and swimming.
- If you could introduce one change to the industry in Scotland (money is no object!) what would it be?
The sport and leisure industry offers so many opportunities for all ages and abilities, meaning that, in turn, the benefits are endless in terms of both physical and mental wellbeing. It would be great if money was available, in a controlled and structured manner, to ensure these opportunities were open and available, free of charge, to everyone across Scotland – ideally with up-to-date modern and accessible facilities and services.
I also firmly believe that swimming is a life skill and a sport for all. Everyone should be able to swim, whether for health reasons, fitness or just for fun. There’s also a safety aspect - we are a country surrounded by water and have a significant number of lochs and rivers. Wouldn’t it be great if all children in Scotland could swim by the age of 8 years old? I do think that this is an achievable goal that the Sport and Leisure Industry - working with partners - could delivery if money was no object!
- What might people be surprised to learn about you?
In what feels like a previous life, but is really just when I was young, I was an international swimmer representing Great Britain and Scotland. I was the first Scot to win the European Junior Championships and I competed at the Commonwealth Games in 1986 in Edinburgh, and in 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand.