Staff mem­ber notches up 18 years


Chris Cham­ber­lain is Wat­son In­tegrity’s long­est-serv­ing team mem­ber, hav­ing been with the com­pany for 18 years.

Af­ter at­tain­ing a po­si­tion as New Zealand Lo­gis­tics Man­ager for a multi-na­tional com­pany Chris was posted to Christchurch.

‘‘I had been in the corporate world for 15 years or so and had achieved a top job but had to move away from Palmer­ston North. At that time my son was just a few months old so I de­cided I would give the job a cou­ple of more years then I would re­sign and come back to Palmer­ston North,’’ says Chris.

‘‘I guess I was feel­ing a bit burnt out as you do when you are deal­ing with a big staff and I was man­ag­ing 100-odd staff.’’

Chris stuck with his plan and re­signed then spent the next six months tak­ing a break and weigh­ing up his op­tions.

‘‘A ca­reer in real es­tate pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity to run a business with­out hav­ing to em­ploy staff. I had looked at a business such as a pub or a cafe but they re­quire a lot of cap­i­tal. Real es­tate pro­vided a good op­por­tu­nity to be self employed at very lit­tle cost.’’

Chris says when he re­turned to Palmer­ston North Ken Wat­son, whom he knew through hav­ing played foot­ball, con­tacted him and in­vited him to have a cof­fee and a chat which led to Chris be­ing con­tracted to Wat­sons and a ca­reer in real es­tate.

One of the great ad­van­tages of the job was that the hours were flex­i­ble.

‘‘My wife Deb­bie had taken five years off work and was keen to re­turn to it so I was able to take over look­ing af­ter our son, get­ting him to school and pick­ing him up af­ter school. I could set up a lot of ap­point­ments in the evening, a lot of clients pre­ferred to see me when their chil­dren were set­tled for the night. I didn’t mind work­ing un­til mid­night some nights.’’

Over the years, Chris says the one thing that has changed is the tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘But in say­ing that a large num­ber of peo­ple pre­fer the belly to belly ap­proach. It’s build­ing re­la­tion­ships that’s im­por­tant.’’

Chris feels he was for­tu­nate that he en­tered the in­dus­try dur­ing tough times. ‘‘The mar­ket then im­proved be­fore go­ing back down. But the mar­ket as it is cur­rently is the best en­vi­ron­ment I’ve ever seen. Now you can give a writ­ten guar­an­tee that you can get a house sold in a cou­ple of weeks.’’

Chris says his back­ground in lo­gis­tics means he likes to know ev­ery­thing that’s rel­e­vant to a property.

‘‘In this in­dus­try you’ve got to be spot on. I don’t do grey ar­eas when it comes to business.’’

Chris Cham­ber­lain

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