In August 1994, I was transferred to Sydney to take up the position of National Parts Manager, however upon arrival the General Manager informed me that I was also the National Marketing Manager for both trucks and parts. I did enquire as to the possibility of two remuneration packages, however that request was met with a fairly negative response. I dutifully performed in both roles increasing sales and market share.
In February 2002 my wife and I purchased ‘Condarra’, a 570 acre property in Samaria. The property was leased out, with the longer term view of moving onto the property when we retired.
In May 2006 I was asked by the Managing Director to complete a ‘due diligence’ report for Mack, Volvo and Nissan Diesel, Australasian operations. This was completed as part of the impending take-over of Nissan Diesel Japan by Volvo, and involved a complete assessment of staff and manufacturing capacities, distribution/dealer network, market penetration, sales and profitability, along with market projections for the next five years.
Following the proposed company take-over by Volvo extending to Australia, the sudden death of a close friend, and forecast changes within the structure of our respective companies, my wife and I decided to take early retirement.
We moved to ‘Condarra’ in August 2006 and became active in a number of community groups. I spent my formative years, and have spent around fifty five years, living in small rural communities. I am very familiar with the community support structures that exist in the ‘bush’. As a former farmer, and a successful manager in the corporate world, you tend not to be idle for any length of time.
In Swanpool there were seventeen community groups for a population of only six hundred people. I rejoined the CFA in 2007 after a break of fifteen years. In 2009 I was approached to take over as Chairman of the Swanpool and District Community Development Association. I initiated a number of programs that supported and acknowledged the contribution of volunteers within the community. We hosted the Bald Archy Exhibition from 2013 to 2017 and attracted record crowds. We put significant funding back into the community organisations that participated. In 2018 we were not allocated dates for the Bald Archy Tour, so I created the Swanpool Creative Recycled Art Prize, or SCRAP. I wrote the initial Community Plan for Swanpool in 2011 and the later update in 2018, ‘pro bono’. I also wrote business plans for the Swanpool Cinema and Benalla U3A, both ‘pro bono’.
During the initial period of ‘retirement’, I became involved with the Benalla U3A and two of the local history groups. I have written a number of history books on the region, the latest being the history of the first Engineer for QANTAS, who was born and had his early education in Benalla.
I often stop and ask myself, “How the hell did I ever have time to go to work?”