Firsts happen at Elphinstone
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.