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Bowls In Focus : December 2010
Bowls In Focus 9 Well-known Caulfield Park bowler and ad- ministrator Joe Aarons OAM assumed the mantle of the nation’s number one member last month when he was elected as president of Bowls Australia. Aarons, 73, a successful businessman, becomes the fourth Bowls Australia president since the uni- fication of both national governing bodies in 2001 and succeeds South Australia’s Brian Marsland in the posting. Ironically, Aarons is the first Bowls Australia president from an east coast state, following Marsland, who was president between 2006 and 2010; West Australia’s Beryl Brennan, who served two years 2004 and 2005; and the inaugural presi- dent John McDougall from South Australia, who held the position between 2002 and 2003. Most recent Victorians to hold the nation’s top job were the late Sonny Downs, who was Australian Bowls Council president in 1998-1999, and Bowls Victoria deputy president Betty Collins, who presided over the Australian Women’s Bowling Council between 1997 and 1999. A current Level 2 coach and Level 3 umpire, Aar- ons has been around the bowls scene for twenty- five years, having first stepped onto a flat green in 1985 at Caulfield Park. However, his original stint at the club lasted just two years before he crossed to City of St Kilda (later Glen Eira) where he spent 17 years, then a season at Armadale before returning to his original home in 2006. During this time Aarons held just about every club committee portfolio available and served terms as an RVBA councillor prior to unification. In recent years he has been a driving force in the enhance- ment of the Caulfield Park sporting precinct, while his support of junior bowls has seen the club framed as one of the leading developers of young talent. Despite being born in Richmond, Joe became a diehard St Kilda supporter, yet borrows the words of that legendary Tiger Jack Dyer: ‘a good ordinary player’, when asked what level of bowler he is. The back streets of Richmond were no place for the feint-hearted during Joe’s formative years. On a home-made bike he pedalled across two paper rounds every morning to get through school before taking on an electrical engineering apprenticeship with the old SEC. After qualifying in the trade, his tenure as a contract sparkie was shor t-lived when Joe realised he had a natural talent for selling. “Every dollar that is generated in the world is as a result of a sale,” he says. In fact he was a master salesman, achieving $1 million in sums assured during a period with AMP, while he was the top Ford new car salesman one year, which earned him an all ex- penses paid trip to America. But Joe became disenchanted with making prof- its for others as a result of his sales and negotiating skills, so he looked at opportunities further afield in which to make his mark. One came along that would make him one of the forerunners in the supply of merchandise to retail outlets such as the $2 variety shops that are so much part of our culture today. Joe negotiated with overseas manufacturers and local clearing houses, then sold the products on to the various franchi- sees and discount store owners. “I remember buying a shipment of empty sy- ringes normally used for the treatment of mastitis in cows,” he grins. “So I rang a prominent adhesives and filler products company with the suggestion that these syringes would be ideal as applicators for their compounds, and they went for it. “Every time I walk through a Bunnings store and see the latest state-of-the-art models of that initial concept on the shelves I have a chuckle to myself.” Never one to sit on his laurels, Joe further diversified his business interests to the point that he now produces his own brand of pet food and cleaning products, while he sells commercial fishing bait across Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Away from the heady world of international business, selfless bowls administration and a wide circle of family and friends, Joe has another passion - he is a classic car enthusiast. Parked pride of place in the garage of his home is a left-hand-drive ‘soft top’ 1966 Ford Thunderbird in mint condition. But there are other outside driving forces in the life of Joe Aarons, including a mountain of voluntary work in aid of charity which he humbly dismisses as ‘the right thing to do’, while he has served on the board of Maccabi Victoria, the largest Jewish sporting organisation in Australia with over 4200 members in 24 sports and recreational clubs. In a changing of the guard at Bowls Australia, Aarons, an independent director since last year, assumed the sport’s top role, while SA’s Geoff Nethercott replaces NT’s Barbara Klose, who did not seek re-election, as vice president. During the recent annual general meeting, incumbent board members Robert Webb (bowling director) and Glenn Ashcroft (independent director) were re-elected alongside Nethercott, while WA’s Roz Davey (bowling director) and Victorian Patrizia Torelli (independent director) won the remaining positions. Former world champion Steve Glasson, who claimed a seat on the board last year as an inde- pendent director, also chose to step down following 12 months in the role. In his first official capacity as national president, Joe thanked the three departing board members for their contribution to the sport and wished them well. “The sport of bowls is well placed thanks to Brian, Barb and Steve and I would like to acknowl- edge their enormous contributions over the years,” he said. “I’m sure the new board will capitalise on the foundation they have laid and we look forward to carrying the sport forward for many years to come. “It’s no doubt an exciting time for the sport and I’m extremely humbled to be elected as the fourth national president and look forward to doing the role justice.” People who know our new No.1 member will assure you that Joe Aarons OAM, successful busi- nessman, philanthropist, bowls tragic and all-round good guy will do just that. - David Allen Saint Joe Is New Bowls Oz Boss • Above: Newly elected Bowls Australia president Joe Aarons OAM. • Below: Pride of place in the Aarons home is a classic T-Bird soft top.