Firsts hap­pen at El­phin­stone

Australian Forests and Timber - - IN THE NEWS -

EL­PHIN­STONE EN­GI­NEER­ING is renowned for its ‘firsts’. The first self-load­ing road train; built the world’s first fold­ing skele­tal trailer; de­signed and built the world’s first self-load­ing B-Triple and many other in­no­va­tive log trans­port so­lu­tions. The lat­est ‘first’ is an em­ployee re­tir­ing!

Cheryl Arnol started work­ing for Graeme El­phin­stone in May 2005 as his per­sonal as­sis­tant. When Graeme went to Antarc­tica in De­cem­ber 2005, Cheryl started talk­ing to cus­tomers and pretty much hasn’t stopped since but she is about to.

She is re­tir­ing from El­phin­stone’s on 10 Fe­bru­ary; the first em­ployee in the 40year his­tory of the com­pany to re­tire!

With a long his­tory of in­di­rect in­volve­ment in the for­est in­dus­try, work­ing for Graeme was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion af­ter sell­ing the small en­gine re­pair busi­ness she ran with her hus­band, Glenn. They bought the Stihl chain­saw deal­er­ship, iron­i­cally from Graeme, around 30 years ago and op­er­ated it un­til Septem­ber 2004.

The plan then was to re­tire.

Cheryl was Mayor of the lo­cal Coun­cil at the time and thought that would be enough to keep her oc­cu­pied but that soon changed. “There’s re­ally only so much house­work you can do and sit­ting around do­ing not much else was not on my agenda,” she re­called.

Af­ter a con­ver­sa­tion with Graeme she joined El­phin­stone En­gi­neer­ing in May 2005 and the rest, as they say, is his­tory.

Pro­gress­ing from talk­ing to cus­tomers to ac­tu­ally do­ing quotes was a bit of a long haul but a nec­es­sary one when Graeme went to Antarc­tica in 2011. With Graeme work­ing out of El­phin­stone’s Mel­bourne fa­cil­ity and greyno­mad­ing dur­ing the last five years, the ‘talk­ing’ has in­volved sell­ing trail­ers. “El­phin­stone’s have many long-stand­ing loyal cus­tomers who will nor­mally only speak to Graeme. Imag­ine my ex­cite­ment when one of them phoned me up and or­dered not one but two B-Dou­ble sets,” Cheryl said.

Dur­ing a trip to Western Aus­tralia, Cheryl was in­formed by one of her shoot­ing col­leagues that she was ‘the un­like­li­est look­ing log­ging trailer sales­per­son they had ever seen’.

But then she is prob­a­bly the most un­likely look­ing shot­gun shooter, too!

All of 5’ noth­ing, Cheryl has been a com­pe­ti­tion clay tar­get shooter for more than 40 years. A for­mer Na­tional Ladies Cham­pion and win­ner of var­i­ous ladies’ cham­pi­onships as well as the oc­ca­sional open cham­pi­onship, she plans to con­tinue shoot­ing dur­ing her re­tire­ment with a trip to Dar­win to a com­pe­ti­tion planned for her and Glenn as well as lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions.

Cheryl is re­tir­ing from El­phin­stone’s but as she said she is not re­tir­ing from life.

Her pride in all things El­phin­stone, the trail­ers and other equip­ment, es­pe­cially the Antarc­tic prod­ucts, is ev­i­dent when­ever any­one talks to her. One of the sim­plest tasks that she will miss most is the guided tours through the work­shop at Tri­abunna.

There’s no doubt Cheryl will miss all the cus­tomers and the in­ter­ac­tion with the great team that is El­phin­stone En­gi­neer­ing but there comes a point when time has to be called and so she be­comes an­other ‘first’ for El­phin­stone; the first em­ployee to re­tire. Might not be a record that Cheryl par­tic­u­larly wants to hold but then re­tire­ment life is call­ing and there’s still a fair bit on the bucket list.

Now, the cur­rent Deputy Mayor at Glam­or­gan Spring Bay Coun­cil, a Di­rec­tor of the South East Trade Train­ing Cen­tre and a Di­rec­tor of the For­est Prac­tices Author­ity, put things in per­spec­tive when interviewed re­cently ... “I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to be­ing able to read agen­das and pre­pare for meet­ings at mid­day; not mid­night!”

Over and above the agen­das, though, there’s a new man in her life to keep her oc­cu­pied as well -- seven-month-old Oliver, Cheryl and Glenn’s first grand­child.

Cheryl Arnol

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