Photo: Mark Phelan
15th anniversary and still going strong
Date: 2/1/2018 9:17 AM
Published by : Rasmus Bech(BEC)

On this day in 2003 the new General Secretary of Badminton Europe, Brian Agerbak entered the BEC Office for the first time. 15 years later he is still in sitting in the chair.

February 1st is a big day at the BEC Office. The General Secretary can celebrate his 15th anniversary, but before entering Badminton Europe the sport of badminton was already a big part of Brian Agerbak’s life.

From an early age he played badminton and later he took up challenges within the Danish badminton community as a coach, course instructor and in general development activities in the western part of Jutland. In 1996-97 he accepted a position as national coach of the Cyprus Badminton Federation. The role gave him a real insight into the challenges that smaller badminton federations faced.

The man who hired Brian Agerbak, the former President at Badminton Europe, Torsten Berg, is happy, that Agerbak was ready to take the challenge as General Secretary.

- Brian was very talented as a badminton administrator, and he had knowledge of coaching and developing. Brian was the only qualified applicant, who we could afford at that time. He also had a talent as a business man, which was spotted and developed by Tom Bacher, when he took the seat as President for Badminton Europe, Torsten Berg says.

The right successor
German Gisela Hoffmann was predecessor of Brian Agerbak as General Secretary at Badminton Europe, and she still remembers their first meeting, where Agerbak at the time was only 28 years old.

- I met Brian for the first time in autumn 2002 in Copenhagen at a hotel where Torsten, Jos Nouwt (Vice President at Badminton Europe), and myself interviewed Brian for the position as new General Secretary, Hoffmann recalls. 

A she is happy to see, what her successor has achieved.

- Brian guided BEC into a new area and moved the organisation into a business orientated one. No doubt, Brian proofed to be the right person for the position.  Brian has done a superb job and I personally am very proud and happy that through Brian, Badminton Europe has made fantastic progress within administration and business. Brian has the responsibility for a good number of staff, the membership was increased, the tournament programme considerably expanded, he strongly cares about the development of Badminton in Europe and he has guaranteed that BEC is a well-respected international organisation, Hoffmann says. 

Bringing professionalism
Under Brian Agerbak the organization changed its name from European Badminton Union to Badminton Europe Confederation. Significant business partnerships were established too, with leading sports brand YONEX ensuring certain minimum standards were met at all European Championships. These partnerships ensured a steady growth of the organization but also allowed for reserves to be built.

As a result, some of this capital was used in 2013 to buy Badminton Europe its own office premises in Copenhagen. 

English Chris Harvey was the first to be employed by Brian Agerbak back in 2005. Harvey left England to join the BEC Office in April 2005.

- Brian was incredibly supportive in helping me to settle in, finding me an apartment in Copenhagen and giving interesting projects to lead on. I worked for five years for Badminton Europe, and during that period Brian was able to bring greater professionalism to the administration, increase the presentation of the European Championship events and perhaps most importantly, enhance relations with member associations to bring greater unity within the confederation, Harvey says. 

Another person who was employed by Brian Agerbak is the current Senior Manager, Jimmy Andersen. He only has positive things to say, when the talk is about his boss.

- Having worked with Brian for more than 11 years has surely taught me many things. Not only about badminton, but also about how to manage a growing organization, and to grow with it.

- I can without any doubt relate to Brian as “my mentor” within my work, and I am pleased with our everyday cooperation, where I have been fortunate to be given much responsibility within the office. I hope Brian will remain with the organization for many years to come – for the benefit of badminton in Europe, Andersen says.

Four Presidents
During his time as General Secretary Brian Agerbak has been working closely with four different elected Presidents: Torsten Berg, Tom Bacher, Poul-Erik Høyer and Gregory Verpoorten. But not all talk has been work-related between General Secretary and President.

- Working with Brian has been pleasant. He always gave well-prepared input, and he has the ability to look forward. He is a calm and dedicated General Secretary with development in focus, Høyer says.

- We got to know each other quite fast and it has turned out as a good and solid friendship.

Introduced to the ‘newbee’
Belgian Gregory Verpoorten is the current President of Badminton Europe. And he remembers his first meeting with Brian Agerbak:

- I was the national junior coach for Belgium at the 2003 European Junior Championships in Esbjerg. Here I got to know Gisela Hoffmann and was briefly introduced to ‘newbee’ Brian Agerbak. I wasn’t too sure what to think of him taking over the administration at EBU. 

As head coach of Olve in Edegem, I, a couple of months later, joined the team to the Europe Cup in Uppsala.

- I remembered Gisela from Esbjerg, of course, but kept a close eye on Brian, who was still well guided by Gisela but started to stand on his own two feet. Little did I know that Brian would later on lead the BEC office during my time in Council and during my Presidency, and that he would do that in such a great way, Verpoorten says.

Bright future
The future is waiting. Also, for Brian Agerbak. And looking at the future and speaking to the people who know the General Secretary, they are all confident that the now 43-year old Dane will lead Badminton Europe into a great future.

-  I can hardly talk about my expectations for the future of BEC but I do hope that as all the new techniques and the way things are handled today and the many different business opportunities will no doubt offer new ways to progress and change. But I am very convinced that with Brian and his heart for European Badminton, BEC will go on to move towards a modern and business-like approach to the game, Gisela Hoffmann says.

Peter Tarcala has as a member of the Board been working with Brian Agerbak since his election in 2003, and he is confident that the General Secretary will continue on the same high level.

- Brian and his team moved BEC to "another planet". Brian will never stop his ideas, activities and dreams to make our sport one of the most successful. Not only in Europe - but worldwide. And that´s why he is the right man in the right place. Europe has to be proud every day to have him, Tarcala says.

And Poul-Erik Høyer agrees:

- Brian will be leading and developing the organization as a textbook example on, how an organization should be led, Poul-Erik Høyer, the current President at BWF, says.

On behalf of the Badminton Europe Staff and Board of Directors:

Congratulations on your 15th anniversary, Brian.

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