After graduating from Otago University I started my commercial career in the big capital of Wellington. Working as an IT Consultant across a number of sectors, I found myself developing core knowledge, skills and experience in the commercial sector. I also worked on a number of projects under tight time and budgetary constraints, two components vital to the success of anything in the private sector.
I established my first business whilst working in Wellington in 2004. This was a business in a niche market that started out as a bit of a hobby and quite quickly grew into something that my wife and I were able to both work on full time.
Being in the technology space I found this business really interesting. Digital wide format printing was finding new feet, and we were one of the early adapters in this space producing photography and fine-art reproduction services.
Our online business model proved to be very successful and we were able to create a business that operated all over the country and even overseas from the comfort of our home.
Two years later, we made the best decision ever to move down to Southland and we have never looked back. After working from home, or as we referred to it as living at work, for a couple of years we bought a section and built a new building to house the growing business.
We were often asked "why Lumsden??" and my answer was always easy. "Why not!" we saw so much potential in Lumsden, as we did in Southland. We love the communities down south and we love the Southland way of life.
In 2010 I saw an opportunity and we started work on a new cafe for Lumsden called Route 6. In 2014 we relocated the cafe into the old BNZ building after an extensive renovation and eight years on the cafe is running successfully with a great reputation and our T Shirts have been spotted as far away as China!
Anyone who has ever run a business will know that its no walk in the park. Not having the luxury of a guaranteed income and the resulting pressure of being responsible for over a dozen weekly pay cheques for your staff is a huge responsibility and a big challenge. You need the ability to think fast on your feet, make effective long term decisions and to live within your means.
Success in business, and especially small business, requires a diverse range of skills. Sometimes you are the accountant, the cleaner, the therapist, the maintenance man, the problem solver, the big picture thinker, the crisis averter and sometimes you switch between all of those roles in the space of an hour.
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say "If council was a business it would be broke" and to be honest I have often said it myself. Having sound and proven business skills at the head of the council table is necessary for so much of what council does, and that is a valuable skillset that I can provide.