Van Der Leest Joins Churchill Downs as VP, Assistant General Manager

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Churchill Downs and Turnkey Search are thrilled to announce the hire of Keith Van Der Leest as Vice President, Assistant General Manager. He will report directly to the Senior Vice President and General Manager, Ryan Jordan. In Van Der Leest’s position, he will be responsible for centralizing the operational elements of the venue including overlooking Operations, Facilities, Housekeeping and Track Surfaces as well as IT and Construction.

Van Der Leest has over 25 years of experience managing operations and facilities. Having worked for SMG-Jacksonville Sports & Entertainment for over 20 years, he is well-positioned to become an innovative leader at Churchill Downs. Most recently, Van Der Leest was the Assistant General Manager & Director of Operations overseeing TIAA Bank Field, the home of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars, an 11,000-seat minor league baseball stadium, a 13,000-seat convention center, and more. Prior to Jacksonville, he worked for the Baltimore Orioles as a groundskeeper. Van Der Leest earned his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin.


Turnkey Search is a subsidiary of Turnkey Sports & Entertainment. Founded in 1996, Turnkey Search is a highly specialized talent recruitment/executive search firm filling C-level, senior-level and mid-management level positions in sports, entertainment and media. Over the past 20+ years, Turnkey Search has filled more than 1,000 positions throughout sports, entertainment and media. Turnkey Search helps teams, leagues, stadiums, arenas, theaters, college athletic departments, events, sponsors, agencies, media companies, private equity companies and other clients identify, recruit and hire the very best management talent. For more information about Turnkey Search, visit