Tell us a bit about your current role with Liebherr.
My role in Australia is that I’m the general manager of the maritime division here. We set up in June of 2017. We started with just two people in the division, we’ve grown to eight, and we’re still expanding, trying to get more into the Pacific islands and New Zealand markets.
My main job, I would like to think, is sales. The other seven people deal with the service and the spares – that side of it.
What’s the best thing about your role?
I still love selling cranes. I’ve been with Liebherr for 28 years, I’ve worked for them in the UK, Ireland, all over Africa. I was based in South Africa for five years, I was in Dubai after that, and that’s when I first got into Australia. The representative for Australia quit, and my boss decided that – as I was halfway to Australia from Europe, in his eyes – it would be good if I ran the market down here. I was also based in Germany and Austria with them for a few years, and I’ve been here for 15 months now. But, selling cranes is what drives me.
So far, it’s been a good 15 months in Australia. We’ve won five projects in the harbours, one project offshore, and one project for a harbour-crane simulator for training in New Zealand.
What did you do before you sold cranes for a living?
Before I started selling cranes I was in the British military. I started as an avionics engineer, fixing helicopters all over the world. I was lucky, or unlucky, enough to be in the Falklands War. As a soldier, it is something that you train for, and it’s good to use your training. Too many of us end up with qualifications that we never use.
up, what did you want to be?
I never really had a plan as I went along. Strangely, I never really wanted to be anything. When I finally decided to leave school, I wanted to be a policeman, believe it or not. So, I tried to join the Metropolitan Police in London, passed all of their exams, passed all of their physical testing until they did the final medical. They measured me and was one inch too short. So instead, I joined the army; they don’t mind small people.
That was my first-ever job. I’ve been lucky that I’ve only ever had two jobs in my life. One was the military for 14 years, and one is Liebherr for 28 years. I’ve had different roles in both of those jobs, moved different places, but I’ve only had two jobs.
What have you been reading lately?
I’m reading a lot of James Patterson right now. He’s got different characters that come along the way, I’m reading a lot of his stuff.
What about music?
I play the guitar. I just recently bought a Cole Clark – an all-Australian guitar made with all Australian wood. I wanted something Australian and musical to take home. It’s an acoustic but it has the possibility to plug it in as well.
I’ll play almost anything. In the old days I played a lot of David Bowie and that sort of stuff, now I like playing Ed Sheeran. I’ll try anything once.
I hear you write books.
That’s my next career. I’m 60 years old next year and I’ll be leaving Liebherr, at least that’s my intention. I may do a bit of consultancy work, perhaps, but my aim is to press on the writing side.
I’ve written six books so far, but I never have time for marketing, for book readings, book signings, for anything and I’m always in the wrong continent, generally. I’m going to give it a real try next year.
It’s a dream, something I want to do. I’m about 90% the way through a book about Australia now. I hope to have that ready
for when I leave.
What do you write about?
I call the genre action-fiction. Basically, I take a topic, something that is topical from the news, and I take it to an extreme. That’s about all I can say.
My books normally start with facts, then I just warp it.
Writing is good escapism. You totally forget the job. You totally forget all your worries, and you invent a world that maybe you’d like and maybe you wouldn’t like, but you control it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully a famous author, but who knows? Maybe I’ll just be doing consultancy.
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This article appeared in the January 2019 edition of DCN Magazine