Leading trailer axle and component manufacturer, BPW Transpec, has a remarkable number of long-serving Australian staff members who work at the company’s branches around the country.
The company has a group of 10 employees, comprising both females and males, with tenures ranging from 25 to 44 years who between them have provided a grand total of 308 years of service to the company.
There are a further 23 employees who have been with the company for between 10 and 20 years.
According to BPW Transpec Managing Director, Stefan Oelhafen, the company’s long-serving staff add significant experience to the business, which ultimately leads to superior customer service.
“We highly value the loyalty and long service of so many of our staff members,” he said. “They are great role models for our newer employees who have perhaps come from an environment where these values are not emphasised so much.”
Stefan adds that the positive work culture and atmosphere at BPW Transpec is an important aspect when it comes to attracting new talent to the business.
“We have long-serving staff throughout the entire business – some of whom have progressed through sales, production and workshop roles – which means we have a wealth of experience for our new employees to learn from in all aspects of our operations.”
“This also reinforces our belief that BPW Transpec provides ample opportunities for employees to progress through different roles within the business rather than needing to look elsewhere for career progression and satisfaction.”
Speaking with some of the longest serving employees, a common sentiment is that they have been with the company for such lengthy periods because it is a good company to work for and they are surrounded by other good people.
One such person is Steve Civelle, who has been employed at BPW Transpec’s Melbourne head office for an amazing 44 years.
Civelle started in the drawing office as a detailed draftsman in February 1977 and 18 months later moved into Internal Sales. A few years later he started looking after the Workshop and sometime later, transferred to Spare Parts.
“In 1987 I became Production Planner and in 2000 moved into my current role as Production Manager,” Steve says – adding, “It’s been a very enjoyable role for me over 21 years.”
Civelle said there have been a number of challenges along the way including staff retraining and upgrading the production processes.
“Keeping on top of our workload, which can fluctuate, has been an important priority – particularly in the last 12 months where we’ve had the busiest period ever.
“It’s a great industry to be in with a lot of good people and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.”
Another incredibly long-serving employee with nearly 38 years under his belt is Graeme Jardine, Production Support Officer in Melbourne.
“When I first started in 1983 I was in Outwards Goods and the company was based on Old Geelong Road at Brooklyn,” Jardine said. “I did that for two years before they put me in charge of Inwards Goods.”
After three years in that role, Graeme moved into spare parts and stayed there until 1994 when he went back into the warehouse. In ’96 he moved into the Production role he now holds.
Speaking about the reasons for his long tenure with BPW Transpec, Jardine mentioned the calibre of the company and the people who work there.
“It’s a great company to work for and the people around me are really good to work with – we get along very well,” he said.
Also singing the praises of his employer is Workshop Manager John Guzzardi – a 36-year veteran with the company.
“It’s a great company to work for and transport is a fantastic industry to work in,” said Guzzardi. “On the whole, people who work in this industry are genuinely good to work with.”
Guzzardi says the innovation and technology changes in the products BPW Transpec sells have been the major changes he’s seen in his time with the company.
He started in the warehouse and spent eight years there before transitioning to a production management role which he did for 20 years before moving to his current role as Workshop Manager.
The fourth longest serving current employee is Kevin Adolphus who recently notched up 31 years.
His role as Sales Support at the Sydney branch sees him liaising with customers and ensuring the high standards of the company are maintained across the board.
“I started at the Melbourne head office in the warehouse and then transferred to Sydney some years later.
“BPW Transpec is a great brand and a very good company to work for.
“The people who work here are so easy to get on with.
“When I was in Melbourne I had the privilege of working alongside John Guzzardi, Graeme Jardine and Steve Civelle – all of whom have worked for the company quite a bit longer than me.
“When you work with people like these it is so easy to come to work.”
Starting in the Spare Parts department, Adolphus eventually moved into Sales and then into his current role as Sales Support, which he has done since 2000.
“I wear a few different hats and I know the whole operation, which is handy because I can fill in for others when necessary,” he said.
Meanwhile, Scott Merriman has been working at BPW Transpec’s Sydney branch for 27 years, starting on the workshop floor as a hydraulic fitter/welder.
After three years he moved into the role of Service Manager, in charge of all the product lines the company sells.
Merriman held this position for seven years until he was offered an opportunity in a sales role in the company’s hydraulics division which included HMF truck mounted cranes and tail-lifts.
From there he transitioned into a sales role for all BPW Transpec product lines with main focus on BPW axles and suspension. He then became State Manager, a position he has held for the last six and a half years.
“A great thing about working for BPW Transpec is the variety in the work and the roles I’ve held which have made for a very interesting career,” he said.
In his current role, Merriman is responsible for the smooth running of all aspects of the Sydney branch including workshop, warehouse, spare parts and product sales.
Asked about the reasons for such a long tenure with BPW Transpec, Merriman said that the company is operated in a very personable and engaging manner.
“Everyone who has been here for a long time takes their role personally,” he said.
“Hence when things are going great you feel joy and when they are not going so great you feel that too – you’re not just there working eight hours and taking home a wage.
“From my perspective, you live and breathe it and it’s not a chore to come to work, it’s a joy.”
Two female employees started at the same time with BPW Transpec 26 years ago.
Katarina Pringle works at the Perth branch and has progressed through various roles over her 26-year tenure.
Describing herself as someone who looks forward to going to work every day, Pringle said she has enjoyed learning all about the product range and appreciates the stable and consistent management of the company.
“I have always found management to be very approachable in terms of problem solving, the products are good and the customers are pretty good to deal with,” she said.
“I started as a part-time Secretary and progressed to my current split role of Sales and Administration.”
Pringle said one of the highlights of her career with BPW Transpec has been watching the various products develop and improve over time.
“I have enjoyed seeing the introduction of newer model trailer axles and various other BPW group products which play a pivotal role in the success of the company,” she said.
Dealing with happy customers is another facet of the job that Pringle really appreciates.
“We always do our best to meet customers’ needs and expectations – so it is good to have that validation when I am talking with them over the phone,” she said.
Soon to complete an almost 27-year career with the company when she retires on 7 July this year is Helene Ryder.
Having previously been a full-time Mum, Ryder was keen to re-enter the workforce, commencing as Administration and Accounts Manager at BPW Transpec’s Queensland branch in August 1994.
Ryder said she has found BPW Transpec to be a really good company to work for, which has made the experience very positive for her.
“When I started there were only three staff members in a very small office and a tiny room with a few spare parts,” she said.
“Seeing the progress and growth of the company from when I first started to now has been a very rewarding and enjoyable experience for me.”
Ryder said there’s a positive vibe throughout the entire company and that the staff are more like family than simply work colleagues.
“I have also enjoyed meeting all the customers – either over the phone or face-to-face – which has made my job easier and more pleasant.
“Because I’ve been here so long I know their voices over the phone and they only have to say hello and I know who it is, which is great.”
In her retirement, Ryder is looking forward to doing some voluntary work and being available for sports days and grandparents days with her grandchildren.
The management, staff and customers of BPW Transpec wish Helene every happiness and joy in her well-deserved retirement.