Role at O’Connors: Branch Manager
When did you start with O’Connors? 8th Oct 2019
Three words to describe the company? Professional, passionate, enthusiastic
Family? Pets? I have a cat & dog at home & I have 6 grandkids: 2 in Woodend, 2 in Melbourne & 2 in Orange.
Who do you cheer for? Parramatta Eels (plus a soft spot for Swans)
Favourite machine? Patriot Sprayer
Where did you grow up?
I spent a lot of time in Griffith NSW. Wagga, then back to Griffith. And then I was asked to work in Albury. I’ve been in agriculture for 40 years – on the workshop floor as an apprentice, in parts, as a parts manager, workshop manager, sales. Then a general manager, an operations manager and now Branch Manager with O’Connors.
How did you start in agriculture?
On Saturdays I used to work part-time watering trees for a property – driving a tractor with a water cart. And when I finished school at 15 they offered me an apprenticeship.
What do you love about living in regional Australia?
I like the freedom, I like this area. When the canola is out it’s fabulous to drive through the countryside. It’s great to camp by the river, you can drive an hour to the snow. An hour to Sydney or Melbourne by plane – everything is on the doorstep. We have great services and infrastructure.
How did you first learn about O’Connors?
One of the reps I knew through a previous employer had experience with O’Connors. He was explaining how they were professional in their approach, they had policies and procedures set out and it was a well-directed company.
What drew you to the business?
I thought, if all of that stuff is in place I could get on and direct people in their role without worrying about procedures. You can be more focused on the business and on providing useful solutions to customers.
The structure and support that comes with a larger business is great. Not just from the executive, but from other branch managers. Even though we’re in different locations we’re a great team – every manager has a different skill set and we all share our expertise. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, it could be a product or a part or a technique, someone across the group will have been there before and we’ll troubleshoot it together.
What’s your favourite part about working for O’Connors?
I love how the whole day can just change, that’s one thing about the farming game. You can have your week planned and by 10am Monday it’s out the window and you have a whole different direction. It’s an exciting industry to be in.
And I really like solving problems. Recently we promoted our Service Administrator into the role of Service Manager. It was a great step up for her and her years of experience in the Service Department has allowed her to transition into the Manager position really well. We then needed to fill the admin role. Rather than recruit, I was able to take someone from our parts department and split their role 50/50, which has been a positive in so many ways.
He loves the experience and progression and is gaining an understanding of the broader business; the arrangement is working well for the workshop; and the cost saving will hopefully allow us to bring on someone down the track and fill a gap elsewhere. I really like being able to make a difference like that.
O’Connors is mindful of employees’ career paths and has a philosophy of internal promotion, so it was great to apply that within the branch.