Metra Australia is saddened to report the death of co-founder, director and industry entrepreneur Don Hartley who died on Tuesday 8th March, at the age of 63, as a result of cancer.
A pioneer in the contract management of aquatic, recreation and sport facilities in Australia, Don will be remembered as an industry innovator whose low-key management approach inspired many in the industry.
Prior to Metra Australia, establishing in 2014, Don co-founded Leisure Management Services in 1995, which continues to operate facilities today. His experience with the technological needs of facilities, led him to co-found Links Modular Solutions in 1999. Links then went on to sell their market-leading software company in 2016.
Looking back on Don’s achievements, longstanding business partner Nick Ciccarelli and current director of Metra Aus, highlighted that Don started in a time where community leisure provision was an outdoor pool and a community centre and the concept of a ‘leisure centre’ was in its infancy.
It was from humble beginnings as a Duty Manager at the East Keilor Leisure Centre, that Don perfected his entrepreneurial skills. Ironically, the redevelopment of East Keilor Leisure Centre was one of the last projects he saw Metra Aus technology be installed at.
The introduction of Compulsory Competitive Tendering by the Jeff Kennett-led Victorian Government of the 1990s provided the catalyst to take the next step in leisure management, and Leisure Management Services was born. The company grew from managing one facility, to at its prime, operating a wide range of facilities across multiple states.
Through Don’s business instincts and innovation Metra Australia became the natural progression of LMS. Always being one step ahead and predicting changes within the technology space, Metra Aus became the leading electronic locking and access control solution for leisure centre personal storage lockers.
Don’s vision didn’t stop there. He knew the locker business didn’t stop at leisure facilities and it wasn’t long before his vision became a reality with Metra locking technology now featuring in End of Trip facilities, corporate offices and schools and universities around Australia.
For those who have had the privilege to meet and work with Don, they will always remember his humour, endless stories, enthusiasm for business and life, and his ability to ‘think outside the square.
“As his long-term business partner and friend of 35 years, he has left a huge hole in the lives of myself and the wider leisure community and will be greatly missed.” – Nick Ciccarelli