This year, 2019, Andy will be celebrating 33 years of service with Hallett Concrete. Andy has not only been our longest-term employee but he has been involved from the start contributing greatly to the growth and changes that have occurred within the Pickard/MSP businesses.
Married to Margie for I think 41 years now…………. she definitely won’t be happy if I get this wrong !!!!!, we have raised 2 amazing sons who we are extremely proud of, both married and with families of their own. I enjoy a good Man cave binge most nights while Margie takes pleasure in producing wonderful quilted master pieces. We also enjoy going out, trying new eateries that are popping up all over Adelaide.
My first job was working for a company called Shell Mainstyle who sold and installed car accessories and also had a Shell service station on the corner of Gray St. and North Terrace Adelaide, where the current Fairmont Homes building is. (It’s a small world). I also worked a second job at night greasing trucks for Industrial Waste Services in their workshop in Station Place Bowden.
During my time there I was offered an apprenticeship at a company called Blakistons, a Geelong based transport company working out of Gillman.
It was there I did my trade as a diesel mechanic completing post trade certificates in Auto Elec and Auto trans.
From there I was hired as a Service Manager for Budget Rent a Car at Mile End.
After a short stint owning my own car carrier I decided to go back to my trade and started working for Quarry Industries at Stonyfell.
Back in late 1985 when I was working as a Diesel mechanic for Quarry Industries (later to become Boral), I was approached by the manager of a company called Budget Concrete to work as their Mechanic/agi driver.
It was January 1986 when I was engaged by Budget Concrete to drive and maintain their fleet of new Ford Louisville concrete trucks and a few second-hand International trucks and plants.
Gordon drawing the winning ticket for the Fairmont Telethon home, yes, they used a concrete truck as the barrel.
The business was owned by Gordon Pickard and Bill Mitchell and I owe my longevity of service to these two guys for giving me the opportunity.
Back then we had a concrete plant at Lonsdale and a plant at Jay St Pooraka with a fleet of 15 agi trucks.
Some years later Bill sold out his share in the business to Hallett Bricks, another great SA business. Hence the name Hallett Concrete was born, by this time I had stopped driving agi’s and concentrated on driving the frontend loader and learnt to batch at the Jay st plant.
Hallett bricks went through some changes of ownership and was eventually taken over by Pioneer International (the owners of Pioneer Concrete as Hanson was known back then). Gordon eventually bought the Pioneer share back and the whole business was back in total control of the Pickard family and the company logo was created by filling in the Hallett bricks logo creating the 4 red squares.
The business soon outgrew our capability to deliver the volumes required and a second-hand twin alley plant was purchased in NSW and was erected on a block of land on Research Rd Pooraka. This plant served the business well until a new state of the art plant was built on the current site at Churchill Rd North, Dry Creek in 2001. The Pooraka plant was dismantled, and the land sold off.
Gordon took the opportunity to expand his business through purchasing interests in concrete, quarrying and hardware supplies. In the early 90’s, when Gordon purchased his first Quarry located in McLaren Vale. It was around this point in time I was tasked with taking over the day to day operations of the concrete business, maintenance, procurement, batching and customer liaising.
In 1996, Gordon sold his Construction Materials businesses to his son Mark Pickard.
Mark and I then worked on rebuilding the concrete plant from Lonsdale and placed it in the McLaren Vale Quarry.
Over the years, Mark continued to invest heavily in his Mining and Construction Materials Businesses. In 2005, Mark purchased his first Mobile Concrete plant. He now has an operational fleet of 6 with excellent capability options to suit all projects.
Back in 2005, I constructed the Elizabeth West concrete plant which was built to service Coles Myer warehouse and beyond; this plant became a permanent plant in the arsenal of Hallett Concrete’s capability.
I have been lucky enough to have worked for a very innovative and forward-thinking family business. The concrete industry has had its challenges over the years with irate customers and dealing with drivers and plant issues, but despite this, I have always been enthusiastic about getting up in the morning and going to work. Fortunately, the days of telling a driver that they are too drunk to drive a truck in the morning are long gone. One of the major changes to this industry for the better is the great focus on safety, a change that is slowly getting the cowboys out of the industry.
Concrete plant in McLaren Vale Quarry
Dismantling begins at Research Rd Pooraka
New plant at Churchill Rd North Dry Creek
2006 I built the Victor Harbor plant located at Commerce Court Hindmarsh Valley to service the south coast requirements.
2015 I built the Pt Pirie concrete plant. This plant was put in as a permanent replacement for the 2 Mobile plants we had on site to supply concrete to the Nyrstar Transformation project.
2017 Strathalbyn concrete plant acquired.
2018/2019 I was on the team tasked with procurement of a state-of-the-art wet batch concrete batch plant for Mile End. First footing poured June 2018 and first batch produced in March 2019.
I have been a member of the Porsche club of SA for many years, owning a few Porsches is a hobby that keeps me working
Over the years I have competed various courses for Frontline management, OH&S and Concrete technology, and along with my trade qualifications, it has all helped me overcome some of the hurdles encountered over the years.
As people like me retire and move on, the void created is becoming greater as the industry over the years has not placed enough emphasis on training younger people to get the experience necessary to operate and maintain the complex equipment the concrete and quarry businesses now use.
Probably the most disappointing thing that has become the norm, is that we have lost the hands-on experience in the business and rely too much on outside expertise to operate and maintain our businesses. We all must remember that the most important thing to make a business successful is to show respect and have patience as our life is becoming more multi-cultural than ever before, something we tend to lose sight of.
Over the years I have seen many changes in the concrete industry, mainly driven by OH&S.
We introduced hydraulically driven agitators and phased out the old chain driven combustion engine power plants. Working at heights legislation has meant the removal of ladders from the concrete trucks.
Fatigue laws have been implemented to reduce the hours that drivers can operate without having a break from duties, and chain of responsibility laws have made everyone aware of how accountable everyone in the workforce is from the top down. Manual handling rules have called for the industry to innovate for making it easier for workers to move loads.
Due to the stricter constraints on the quality of concrete on today’s buildings has led to the concrete plants of today being operated by computers for better accuracy, accountability and QC recording. I was asked to best describe the qualities needed during my time at Hallett Concrete and I believe they are to be Loyal, Resourceful, Innovative, Contentious and Committed.