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People profile: Tracey Francis

Newly appointed director, LK2

Published in Sports Management 2019 issue 1
Tracey Francis has been appointed new director of LK2
Tracey Francis has been appointed new director of LK2

Tell us a bit about your background in the industry?
I have more than 25 years of experience in the sports development industry and have worked within leading bodies such as the England Cricket Board, Sport England and a number of local authorities and cricketing organisations.

While working for Sport England, my remit included grant management, and I feel very privileged to have worked on the indoor skate parks at both Skegness and Corby, including Corby’s 50m swimming pool, which has transformed the leisure offering locally.

During my career, I have supported numerous refurbishments and new build projects for multi-use games areas, 3G and 4G pitches, and fine turf and artificial pitches. For my sins I have even completed an Institute of Groundsmanship course and can put a cricket wicket to bed for the winter!

I think my proudest achievement to date would be leading the ‘Field of Dreams’ project, which saw a derelict 1908 arts and crafts pavilion regenerated as part of the 2013 and 2015 Ashes test series in Nottingham. Over £360,000 worth of goods and services were pledged to the project, which came in around £1m. It’s a true legacy for the people of Nottingham and clearly demonstrates how you can achieve an economic and social return from hosting of international sporting events.

What excites you most about taking on the role of director at LK2?
Over the past ten years LK2 has carved a unique position for itself, having invested significantly in the sport and leisure arm of what was originally a traditional architecture business.

The CEO of the LK2 Group, Dale Lui, and the managing director of sport and leisure, Gary Johnson, have worked to create a niche within the marketplace – they are ambitious to become the industry leaders through offering full-service support to sporting facilities, from securing funding to designing fit-for-purpose sporting locations.

Working alongside Dale, Gary and the wider LK2 team is what excites me most about my new role. With LK2’s unrivalled knowledge and experience within architecture and sport, coupled with its knowledge of the commercial and community sector, my addition to the team will be to create a strong and compelling narrative, showcasing how we can tangibly identify and provide alternative solutions to sport and leisure locations, helping to promote and enable sport and physical activity across the country.

Can you tell us about LK2’s work with Sport England?
We are moving into a new era with Sport England and have developed a more proactive approach to the framework. We aim to be more prescriptive and not descriptive. Our first significant step change will be to develop a consortium offer working closely with a select group of industry leads to create a new and dynamic solution to the framework.

What are your views on the current state of the sports facility industry?
I hate to mention the B word…. but Brexit is likely to have an impact on the future growth of our industry. Either way we need to be ready to adapt, with flexibility to move with the changing landscape. We should see this as an opportunity to build a greater Britain through a human-centred approach and focus on creating communities and facilities that promote sport across the UK, helping everyday people to live healthier lives.

What plans do you have for LK2?
We have ambitious plans to elevate LK2 as an industry leader within sport and leisure – we see this as a pivotal moment for the business and an opportunity for us to carve a niche for the business.

In my new role, I will be working to develop and procure new projects, as well as working alongside the senior team to offer a full service to our sport, leisure, commercial and education clients; focusing on creating facilities that will enhance communities across the country.

First, I would like to spend time getting to grips with how the sports and architecture side of the business work cohesively together, as our strength is in our unity.

As a business, our mantra will always be to look at the ‘art of the possible’ and not be constrained by what has gone before us. We’ll also be focusing on how to create a roadmap to a more cost-efficient, sustainable and exciting sport and leisure future, and I’m very excited to be part of this journey.

LK2 is a company of architecture consultants who specialise in architecture and sports, leisure and education project development

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