Meet the Jets' highest profile off-season recruit
RICHARD Hughes is a Parramatta fan, but he hopes you will not hold that against him.
Rather, judge the new Ipswich Jets CEO on what he will bring to the club starting right now.
Judging by his resume, Jets fans can expect a great deal.
Hughes steps into the role vacated by Jason Cubit at the end of the 2018 season, and brings with him a wealth of business and governance experience.
Hughes' previous roles include event producer for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, special events manager of Westmead Children's Hospital, CEO of the Children's Tumour Foundation and senior fundraising manager of Multicap Limited.
He also has six years' experience running his own business.
This year, Hughes made a shift into the rugby league sector through working with the NRL and QRL on accessibility programs for people with disability.
That exposure to rugby league business, coupled with the "good feel and vibe" at the Jets made applying for the vacant CEO position "an easy decision".
"I've done a lot of work this year within the rugby league community focusing on people with a disability," Hughes said.
"That's really driven a passion this year, and in trying to develop that into something further, this role was perfect for what I wanted to do."
Hughes added the Jets' link to the Ipswich community was another key reason he is excited to jump right in.
"When I got involved in the disability rugby league aspect, for some people just throwing a ball or kicking a ball through the posts was their achievement," he said.
"I saw the real difference rugby league can make to a community. When people get out on the field and are running around with their heroes, it was a real joy to watch.
"That link to the community, and knowing I come from a background of community activation and engagements, made me confident I could deliver that resource to the Jets.
"When I met with Steve and the board, they highlighted the Jets are very driven with community involvement, and that's where a lot of my strengths are.
"Leave the football club to be run by the coaches, and me to run the administration side of things."
The incoming CEO added he is a big proponent for the Jets' expansion into touch rugby league (TRL) and netball.
"I think the more touch points you have and the more accessibility you have with the community, the better," Hughes said.