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Employee Focus: 20 years with Carlene Cramb

Recently Carlene Cramb, from our Dalby branch, celebrated her 20th year working at the dealership.
We wanted to chat to Carlene about her massive milestone, what's changed over her time here and what is it about McIntosh & Son that's made her stay all these years!

Carlene Cramb

What’s your role at McIntosh & Son?

Administration Manager.
I have also worked in reception, parts, and the workshop – so understand all the different aspects of the departments.

What is a typical day like?

Managing multiple tasks all at once! There’s usually several requests from staff when I walk in each day. I may have things planned for the day, but often it ends up being totally different.
I look after the financials, sales administration, payroll and supervise the day-to-day administration duties as required.
While the daily tasks are the same, there’s always solutions to find, or a problem to work out – things always pop up that make the day interesting.

You sound like the Resident Solution Solver – how did you become the go-to person when anyone needs assistance?

Because I’ve been here so long and worked with so many aspects of the business, I know how everything works and the staff know I will find a solution for them.
In 20 years, you’re going to come across most problems - so chances are I’ve seen it before and fixed it before!

What drew you to the company when you initially started?

This dealership used to be Santro Ainsworth Agricultural, until McIntosh & Son bought it in 2004.
My sister-in-law was working there but was leaving to have a baby. She mentioned I was moving to Dalby and suggested the role.

So, you’re not originally from Dalby?

I’m from Toowoomba. I moved here after I married my husband, Darren, who has a business here.

And 20 years later, you and Darren are still married! How did you meet?

We met at a mutual friend’s BBQ. It wasn’t until after we started dating that we were told that we were actually set up!
I had no desire to pursue anyone when we met, but Darren and I just seemed to click, we had mutual connections and I felt very comfortable with him.

How has your role changed over the years?

I was originally hired as the receptionist.
Prior to my role here, I had been working at a Car Dealership in Toowoomba, so I knew the ins and outs of a dealership already.
When the then owner of Santro Ainsworth Agricultural, Brad Troe, interviewed me he said, “Well, you know what you’re doing. When can you start!?” I started the next day.
In 2005 about a year after McIntosh & Son had bought the business, the Administration Manager role became available and I accepted the role. I remember Rod McQuade encouraging me to take on the role and have not looked back since.

Have you seen the dealership change over the years too?

Yes, the biggest change has been growth.
Growth in the number of staff, the size of the business, its reputation, the number of product lines and centralised operating systems.
Watching the technology continually improve has also made so many parts of my job easier, which means we can focus on what is really important and service our customers better.

Does the dealership have a lot of staff that have worked there as long as you have?

Absolutely, and in every department! We have Terry Clark, sales, who will have worked here for 25 years this November. Prior to his passing in 2019, Phil Donges had been involved in the industry for 40+ years, Chris Clifford, service 11 years, Mick McClelland, parts, has been here 9 years and there’s plenty more.
It’s a reflection of the atmosphere, everyone cares about each other, they care about their job, which always flows through to the customers.

That’s quite unique, what do you think it is about McIntosh & Son that makes people stay?

Both company culture and good hiring make a big difference. It’s a family atmosphere.
When I’ve been in interviews for employees in the past, I often say “You likely spend more time with your work colleagues than your partners at home, so the working environment needs to be a happy place.” So, you need to make sure it’s a good fit.
Our departments work really well together which I know doesn’t always happen. Over the years I have seen and heard of terrible rivalry between departments at other Dealerships, where it got to the stage where they didn’t want to help each other.
But here, our staff are interacting all the time trying to find a solution together. They have the same goal and care about our customers.

Sounds like you guys all really get along!

Yes, we sure do! We have even had National Brand Reps comment on how good a place this is to visit, they pick up on the atmosphere and they see so many different dealerships.
They mention that they’ve been into breakrooms where it is deadly silent, or the rivalry is so bad that no one speaks to each other – but nothing like that happens here!
There’s so much banter, laughter, and everyone interacts so well. It makes every day enjoyable.

Can we talk about some favourite moments?

Last Friday (my 20-year anniversary) was a lovely surprise – I was spoilt with flowers from my husband, surprised from the team here with gifts and Terry bought me a lovely pot plant for my desk!
Being here for such a long period of time, something will come up during the day that someone will say or do and that will trigger a memory about things that happened in the past. It’s great to recall those moments, laugh about them and share them with each other. We have lots of stories to tell over the years.

What’s something you’re most proud of during your time here?

Not many people will know that for the past 20 years, it’s me who writes our monthly newsletters!

Carlene Cramb

There’s so much content in those, that’s a lot of work each month - Is writing something that you have an interest in?

Not particularly, but I seem to have a flare for writing something the right way.
I do a lot of reading, and particularly enjoy older literature. I love to learn when I read. It’s stimulating and keeps your mind thinking and growing.

What’s the most frequently asked question that you wish everyone knew the answer to?

“My computer or mobile isn’t working, how do fix it!?”

What’s the best part of your job?

I really enjoy finding solutions to queries. Which is good because there’s a lot of it.
I love seeing the Administrative process work efficiently and smoothly. McIntosh & Son have procedures in place and when you follow them, everything works really well. Having a team of people who are happy to follow the correct procedures makes a huge difference and that flows through the entire business.
And finally, I like working in a company where people come to you for your opinion and they value what you have to say. You know you’re a part of the bigger picture.

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?

Darren and I live on an acre that has lots of gardens. Every afternoon I am tinkering and immersing myself in the garden, it is my favourite way to unwind.
And of course, my 3 Bichon Frise dogs are wonderful company (16, 14, 11-years old), our dogs go everywhere with us!

If you could tell your 20-year-old self anything, what would it be and why?

Don’t be upset if things don’t work out how you expected them to, because you don’t know what it will lead to in the end.
When I look back now at my plans when I was younger versus who and where I ended up with, it is far better than I ever imagined or anticipated it would ever be!