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Ian Price celebrates a remarkable 55-year career with GAAM

In the fire protection and emergency services industry, few stories are as inspiring and illustrative of dedication as that of Ian Price. His 55-year tenure with GAAM, Wormald’s sister company, began when he took on an apprenticeship in 1968, and the rest, as they say, is history. Ian’s journey reflects a career that has been built on a lifetime of commitment and service while overseeing significant change and innovation across the industry. We recently sat down with Ian to discuss his extraordinary career, his experiences, challenges, and the evolution of the fire protection industry, which has seen GAAM become the leading supplier of specialist firefighting and fire suppression equipment. How did you start working for GAAM? I initially responded to an advertisement for an apprenticeship and officially started working for GAAM on 2 January 1968. This opportunity marked the beginning of what would become a lifelong career, filled with growth, challenges, and achievements. How has your career progressed over 55 years? My career has evolved tremendously over the years. Starting as an apprentice allowed me to learn the ropes of the industry from the ground up. My dedication and hard work paid off when I was promoted to foreman. I then transitioned into sales and then into a managerial position. Each role offered new challenges and learning opportunities which has contributed to my overall growth in the company. What are some of your career highlights? There have been numerous highlights throughout my career. Notably, working with Red Adair on the Bass Strait oil well fire was an extraordinary experience. Additionally, being involved in the response to the Mt Macedon bushfires, also known as Ash Wednesday, and the infamous Black Saturday bushfires are moments that also stand out in my career, showcasing the critical impact of our work in emergency situations. What influenced you to stay in the company for 55 years? What is your secret to having a long and fulfilling career? The key to my long tenure at GAAM has been the people, especially Ken Wilcock, GAAM’s managing former director. His encouragement and influence were pivotal in my success. Beyond the relationships built along the way, I believe the secret to a long and fulfilling career is the satisfaction derived from meaningful work. What has changed the most both in the industry and company during these 55 years? The industry has undergone significant technological advancements. Initially, we used BSA petrol engines in our pumps, but this has since progressed to more sophisticated single to four-cylinder diesels. Our first pump operated at 100psi, but now we handle pressures up to 2500kPa and volumes reaching 4000lpm with stand-alone diesel-powered fire pumps on fire vehicles. Another major advancement is the introduction of Task Force Tips (TFT) monitors, which can be controlled remotely from within the fire vehicle cabin. What is your favourite part of the job? I love helping people, particularly when it comes to helping them resolve issues with their pump and monitors. The opportunity to work with every fire truck manufacturer and fire service across the country has also been incredibly rewarding. What is the biggest learning from working with GAAM? GAAM has taught me to treat everyone like family. I’ve also learned that the harder you work, the easier it becomes for the business to succeed. This approach has not only been beneficial for my personal growth but also for the company’s success. What advice would you give to people starting in this industry? My advice for newcomers is to work hard and never hesitate to ask questions. What may seem like a ridiculous question could potentially lead to a new idea or design, fostering innovation in the industry. We would like to thank Ian for his outstanding achievement. His journey with GAAM is a testament to the power of dedication, continuous learning, and the impact one individual can have not just within a company, but across an entire industry. His valuable contribution is an inspiration for industry veterans and newcomers alike. We look forward to working with and learning from Ian for many more years to come!