Run­ning like clock­work – at 80

Central Leader - - LIFESTYLE & LEISURE -

You might call him the ‘ma­chine whis­perer’ – the man who keeps the 52 tonne (loaded) Wabco scraper go­ing day in, day out.

John ‘Rosie’ Rose has been at­tached to the giant earth­mov­ing scraper since be­fore it even came off the pro­duc­tion line. He worked for the com­pany that built it, joined the com­pany that bought it, and at 80 is still its sole op­er­a­tor – for Pen­rose civil con­tract­ing com­pany Dempsey Wood. Trained by Wabco in Oz, Rosie has op­er­ated all over NZ.

Rosie’s work ethic, quick wit and ready smile have lit up the yard and work­site for many a year, and you’d never guess he’s now an ‘oc­to­ge­nar­ian’.

Rosie says, ‘‘It’s all about the ca­ma­raderie, teach­ing the younger guys, not just about the big ma­chines but giv­ing them some life lessons along the way too.’’

Hav­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity of one of the most gi­gan­tic ma­chines in the com­pany at the age of 80 may faze some men – and plenty of com­pa­nies – but Dempsey Wood is not your or­di­nary work­place.

‘‘We look at peo­ple who are loyal, smart, who have a will­ing­ness to learn and com­mit,’’ says manag­ing direc­tor Conal Dempsey. ‘‘In ex­change we’ll com­mit to them for the long term.

‘‘We hire on at­ti­tude and train for abil­ity. We’re com­mit­ted to grow­ing our em­ploy­ees through ed­u­ca­tion, train­ing and sup­port, plus planned ca­reer ad­vance­ment,’’ Conal says.

‘‘Rosie proves that age is no bar­rier to ca­pa­bil­ity or con­tri­bu­tion to a com­pany. You could call it a ‘bro­mance’ be­tween man and ma­chine, but what im­presses us most is the com­mit­ment to do­ing the job well.’’

It’s a fam­ily friendly com­pany that be­gan in a garage 23 years ago and has grown to a team of 270 em­ploy­ees. Its ca­pa­bil­i­ties in­clude earth­mov­ing, road­ing, sub­di­vi­sion, data ca­bling, wa­ter retic­u­la­tion and drainage.

Drug test­ing is manda­tory for all staff, and the com­pany has a proud record of com­pli­ant and in­ci­dent free out­comes on the di­verse projects they un­der­take.

Auck­land is about to em­bark on the most am­bi­tious growth path in its his­tory – and Dempsey Wood is look­ing for the best peo­ple to help grow it. If you have the right at­ti­tude, drop them a line on re­cep­tion@dempsey­wood.co.nz

‘Rosie’ Rose still com­mands the giant Wabco scraper for Dempsey Wood Civil, long after most peo­ple have re­tired.

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