Kicking goals at Queensland Country Bank Stadium

The opening of the Queensland Country Bank Stadium was a big deal for Far North Queensland… and an even bigger deal for us at Facilities First when we were appointed with the cleaning contract for the stadium.

In January 2020 we were staring down the barrel of a fantastic venue with a mammoth task ahead of us. If only we had known that this was just the start of a bumpy roller coaster ride that lay ahead of us.

Building a team from the ground up

Building a team from the ground up

The first challenge for the FNQ team was to build a team to support the stadium. As our FNQ Operations Manager, Melinda Bool explains:

“We had this amazing contract with no team! Very quickly we were able to build a team of 30 incredible staff. Everyone I spoke to, from cab drivers to waiters, was telling me that it was hard to find reliable staff in Townsville. How wrong they were!

We started with Jay Goodall in the role of Client Services Manager and built the team from there. The way Jay has shown care for his team and really valued each contribution has been phenomenal.”

Off to a flying start

Off to a flying start

With a winning team in place, in a matter of a few weeks we delivered four successful events.

We launched the stadium over two days; we saw Elton John farewell the yellow brick road and we were on the ground when the Cowboys played their first home game at the stadium against fellow Queensland side, the Broncos.

And then COVID-19 hit.

“To see everything stop due to COVID-19 was heartbreaking,” says Melinda. “We had built such a dedicated and hardworking team who loved their work.”

But all was not lost, as Jay explains:

“During those months when the stadium was closed, we were able to utilise the team to get ahead of the cleaning at the venue. We also redeployed staff to other jobs where possible. A lot of businesses, like childcare centres, had additional cleaning requirements during that time and we were proud to be able to help out.

It was certainly a challenging time… but we approached it with the usual Facilities First care.”

The return to normal

The return to normal

While we are certainly a long way from the normal we once knew, as far as Queensland Country Bank Stadium goes, the stepping stones are forming a clear path to a new normal.

Pre-COVID we had a new team, keen to learn, to improve and to introduce efficiencies into their processes… in the post-COVID world we are balancing the need for a reactive approach to respond to challenges and changes with proactively planning for possible scenarios.

“We are working with a number of stakeholders in ways that are quite different to pre-COVID,” says Jay. “It only takes one person to miss the loop and all of a sudden we are in strife – attention to detail and building really solid relationships have been critical.

The team has really taken it on board with the attitude that we do it once and we do it right. We know that when we do it right, the crowds will be able to come back sooner and there will be more work here for everybody.”

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