published Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Malecky as manager brings 'energy' to track club

Runners leave the starting chute at the beginning of the 2012 Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon.
Runners leave the starting chute at the beginning of the 2012 Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon.
Photo by Staff File Photo.
  • photo
    Stacey Malecky is the recently hired manager of the Chattanooga Track Club.
    Photo by Ron Bush.
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A former high school cheerleader in Massachusetts, Stacey Malecky still displays some of that sideline energy in her job as manager of the Chattanooga Track Club. But she also came into it as a runner, having become an active participant in young adulthood -- not unlike many of the club's members.

The position also makes good use of the skills she used in the finance ofice at West Virginia University.

After her husband, Mark, a chemical engineer, came to work for Wacker in Charleston, Tenn., after nine years in West Virginia, Stacey and their two children followed in late March. She was hired to the CTC's new day-to-day leadership position in July, and she loves both the job and the location.

"Part of the deal of my husband taking this job was that I would find a job that I love," she said. "What were the odds that the track club would be hiring at the time I needed a job? And it's been great."

Stacey and Mark met as freshman chemical engineering students -- "He stayed; I defected [from engineering]," she said -- at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a cross country and track runner. He grew up in northeastern Ohio.

"All through our freshman year, he said, 'Why don't you run? It would be good for you,'" Stacey related. "But I wouldn't do it. But he left for an internship the next year, and I thought he might be right. I was ready to try it when he was not there to watch me."

The couple have done a lot of running and hiking since moving to Ooltewah from Morgantown, but they are eager to try the many other outdoors sports the Chattanooga area offers. Getting into triathlon training has meant cycling and swimming, and standup paddleboarding is among the other activities that intrigue them.

"When Mark started thinking about a new job, Tennessee wasn't on our radar, for some reason. My default area was the Northeast, and he was looking at other places, too," Stacey said. "He had seen a job posted for [the Wacker plant] a couple of years ago, but that was not a good time for us to move. But when it popped up last spring [2012], he decided to check it out.

"I googled 'Chattanooga' and thought, how did we never check into this? It's heaven. They have everything here. And there's so much green space."

Her husband told her about the area after interviewing for the Wacker job, but she did not see it until a long weekend in early December.

"I did not want to leave," she gushed.

She has brought that enthusiasm into her CTC work, according to club president Chas Webb.

"She's brought a lot of heart and energy into the club," Webb said. "She maintains a positive attitude, and she works well with the membership and with everybody else we deal with. One of the great things she has done is expand our Facebook page. Really, she's helped take us from 'We're running this race, come run it' to being an actual running community."

Webb said he was working about 40 hours a week for the track club in addition to his full-time job, and a handul of other volunteers similarly were putting in a lot of time and still having trouble getting "all the day-to-day tasks" done. They decided in February to look for a manager.

"Stacey's done what we envisioned. She's the glue that holds the Chattanooga Track Club together," Webb said. "And what has most impressed me is how organized she is."

Said Malecky: "I can't be paid if the club does not have money, so I do have to help them grow those money-making events, but my main job is to make life easier for the race directors. Most of them have full-time day jobs, and some things just can't be done on weekends, so I may help in getting permits or picking up stuff or putting things in the mail -- things like that. Basically, I keep things moving.

"We have board meetings once a month, and a lot of things have to be executed between those board meetings. That's my responsibility. And I'm always looking for ways to reach out to other organizations to grow ours."

The club is holding the Signal Mountain Pie Run this Saturday. It's a 10k prediction run beginning and ending at the Signal Mountain Athletic Club -- the former middle school beginning.

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