Dallas Kells

Dallas Kells

Regional Operations Manager - Northern Region

Tell us about your role and history at Conplant.

I originally started with the company in 1980 as a very young fella – just 18.

I started in the wash bay, cleaning machines when they returned from hire and getting them ready for hire again. I went from the wash bay to the workshop, then some field service work, moved into the store, then I left and went contracting for about eight years.

Once I came back to Conplant I took over various roles – driving trucks, in the store and in the workshop. I moved to Queensland about 17 years ago and after another six months away from the business I came back and took over a hire controlling role. From there I moved into spare parts and became National Spare Parts Manager, and then took over the role of Branch Manager in Brisbane. Quite a journey!

Now I’m the Regional Operations Manager. We’re based in Yatala, and I look after operations from Coffs Harbour right up to the top of Queensland.

What makes Conplant so special?

Conplant is just an excellent company to work for with a lot of opportunities; a great place to be. Even being based up in Queensland, we could pick up the phone and talk to anybody about anything. Everyone’s prepared to help.

There’s just a very good family culture running through the whole business.

You’ve seen a lot of the business and the industry. What are the constants?

Quality service has always been the major target at Conplant.

Every company believes that they give the best possible service – but at Conplant, it’s something that everybody really strives for. We’re all working hard for the same results.

What type of person does well at Conplant?

It’s definitely a specialised fit.

Naturally, there are a lot of people in the industry that are in it for their own benefit. Those people just don’t last long within our business. When we’re employing new people, we’re trying to find a good fit not just for the role, but for the company itself. We see it as a vital part of our success.

To have a great team, you need to find good people who fit in and thrive within that team environment.

How do you think the industry will change over the next 20 years?

The industry changes so constantly, it’s very tough to predict!

I don’t think you can see that far into the future – from our perspective, innovation is just looking for what’s next. Ian, our Managing Director, is always up for a new challenge, looking for ways to innovate within the business. That could be new products, acquisitions – anything really. He’s never sitting on his hands – and neither are we!

It’ll be interesting to see what the next 20 years brings us.

What’s happening in QLD that’s exciting for you?

For a start, there’s the possibility of the M2 happening up here which would be quite a large job and great for the area. Then there are various others, like Cross River Rail or Inland Rail, that are in progress at the moment.

What do you find most satisfying about your job?

The most satisfying for me is having a great team.

I’ve got 31 people within the branch here at Brisbane. There’s another four at the Sunshine Coast and six at Coffs Harbour. Watching the people grow and develop is an incredible thing.

We’ve got a young lady here that started with us two years ago as a Hire Controller and she’s just been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager.

We’ve had a few people that started in the wash bay like me that we’ve sent through trades.

There’s been three that have become plant mechanics and another one that’s currently running through to become an auto electrician. It’s nice to make a difference in these people’s lives!