Meet the team: Introducing Colin Sutherland, Wormald’s North Queensland Regional Manager.
Colin joined Wormald 12 months ago to help the business leverage its expertise in vehicle fire suppression systems in the mining, marine, industrial and commercial sectors in North Queensland. With keen business acumen, Colin is committed to growth and long term commercial business opportunities in the region. We recently sat down with Colin to learn more about his experience and the dynamic North Queensland region.
Can you tell us about your career journey and how you came to work for Wormald?
After graduating with an Advanced Diploma of Business, majoring in accounting and finance at the Central Institute of Technology in Western Australia (now known as North Metropolitan TAFE), I spent several years working with OEM equipment supply, servicing and supplying haul trucks and excavators to the mining and industrial sectors.
I made the move to Wormald after I saw their advertisement for a North Queensland Regional Manager. The role focused on vehicle suppression systems, which I had experience with during my time working in the mining sector. I’ve been with Wormald for over a year now, working across Far North Queensland which includes Mackay, Townsville, and Cairns.
Explain your current role and responsibilities
As Regional Manager for North Queensland, my role’s core function is to provide commercial guidance and securing the best commercial outcomes for the business. It involves people management, and importantly, building and retaining client relationships.
In Mackay, there is a strong emphasis on the mining sector which relies on the use of all levels of fire protection systems. Protecting mining infrastructure, fixed assets and vehicles requires regular service testing and maintenance of their fire suppression systems.
On any given day I could be reviewing contracts to service equipment from a 300-ton dump truck to a fleet of smaller excavators. Working in harsh mining environments means battling North Queensland’s tropical weather patterns which can be a challenge, particularly when working on heavy and cumbersome pieces of equipment during the wet season.
How does your region differ to other mining regions around the country? What situations are you facing that are unique to North QLD.
In North Queensland, we have more extreme seasonal issues than other areas around the country. One of the biggest considerations is the wet season, which makes equipment dangerous to use and not so ideal for our technicians. However, our region is very dynamic, requiring different skill sets, products and services. For example, while the Mackay region is very mining focused, Townsville and Cairns are more commercially focused. Townsville is a blend of industrial with some commercial sites while Cairns is predominantly commercial with a focus on hospitality and tourism.
What’s it like working at Wormald?
It’s a very fulfilling company to work for. I have always liked the technical side of my role and Wormald encourages me to continue advancing my technical understanding. When I started working in the fire technical industry, there was a lot to learn and I’m still learning.
What challenges are impacting the industry at the moment?
Keeping up to date with new licensing and technical requirements is extremely important, particularly as new state legislation and other frameworks affecting the industry are introduced. Queensland is currently ratifying the structure of its licensing, which will have considerable impact on both businesses and fire protection providers. For example, some of the changes that are coming into effect will impact how fire protection services can be delivered to clients. There will also be cost implications because while today’s technicians can undertake certain work, when the changes come into effect, that same technician may no longer be legally able to do certain tasks. In some cases, a more highly skilled and costly technician will be required.
What do you find most interesting about the fire protection industry?
I find it fascinating that people see fire extinguishers and suppression systems yet don’t think more about what they do. There is a technical side to how we deliver a solution that is based on ‘people protection’ first and then asset management. That is never considered outside of the fire industry. I guess, one of the other interesting things is how we innovate and that goes beyond the corporate level of the business. The Queensland team has a lot of high-level experience and skills that encourage them to think outside the box. For example, when a client comes to us with a problem, we are very innovative in our approach and always consider a solution that is cost-effective and delivers what the client is looking for. We are not an off the shelf company. It’s that innovation within the business that is our driving force.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I call myself a netball widow, as my wife and daughters are heavily involved in regional netball. We’re all very active in sports which takes up a lot of travel time getting to and from training and tournaments. As a family, we like to spend time travelling. One of our favorite spots in Australia is Cairns; I enjoy its laid-back atmosphere and easy-going locals. We also like to spend time in Brisbane and the Gold Coast and if we go interstate, we enjoy visits to Melbourne. However, like many of us, when the time is right, we are looking forward to travelling overseas again.