‘Hardware Australia’ and industry leaders congratulate stars of the future

Australian hardware industry leaders, including HBT Chief Executive Officer Greg Benstead, Independent Hardware Group (IHG) General Manager for Marketing Karen Fahey and Natbuild Chief Executive Officer Peter Way came together, alongside prominent industry retailers and suppliers, to celebrate the official presentation and luncheon of the 2019 National Hardware Australia Rising Stars.

Held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 29, the luncheon was a true reflection of unity within the industry with prominent hardware leaders, including Barry Fagg from the iconic Fagg’s Mitre 10, Barry Rosenberg from Provan’s Mitre 10 and Steven Iser from Hume and Iser, coming together to celebrate the accomplishments of ‘Hardware Australia’ Rising Stars. 

It was also during the lunch that the six proud Rising Stars were officially presented with their accreditations, after being announced as state winners of the awards over the last few months.  

The luncheon also signified the conclusion of a busy tour in Melbourne for the Rising Stars, where they came together for an action packed week of training, development and mentoring.

Beginning on March 25, the week began with two days of training within the ‘Hardware Australia’ Future Leaders Industry Program, which focused specifically on developing the Rising Stars’ management skills to be utilised in the future. 

The group also had the opportunity to meet with industry leaders who worked closely with the award winners to identify their career ambitions and develop specific strategies to assist in the implementation of their goals into the future.  

The week of inspiration continued with an industry tour, which saw the Rising Stars enjoy an excursion throughout the IHG distribution centre in Derrimut, as well as the Dulux Innovation Centre in Clayton, and key hardware stores throughout Melbourne.

The week finished off with the Rising Stars given the exclusive opportunity to receive 12 months of mentoring to assist with their career goals throughout the year.

Industry young guns share advice

Throughout the week, the Rising Stars were interviewed on many important aspects of their career, with their responses presented in a video presentation during the industry luncheon.

The Rising Stars communicated what they enjoyed the most about working within the hardware industry. 

Several of the Rising Stars pointed out that working in an industry that offers so many avenues to choose from, is what makes them love and appreciate their roles.

One Rising Star said he had, “learned so much from being a part of this industry, from the manual jobs I have had to do on the floor to now managing up to 15 staff. This is sometimes a real challenge but it has also allowed me to really grow as a person.”

Another Rising Star said his passion was problem solving when it comes to customer service instore, as well as taking advantage of the continual abundance of opportunities that are available throughout the industry. 

“No matter what a drives a young person within the hardware industry, there are so many opportunities to strive for to build a successful career,” another Rising Star said.

The Rising Stars were also given the opportunity to offer their advice to other young people in the industry on how to further their careers, including learning how to continually push themselves out of their comfort zone, as well as finding a business mentor they can shadow and learn from.

The Rising Stars also presented their ideas on how to build a successful hardware store, which included ensuring there is an exceptional service offer in place, along with a knowledgeable and passionate team, backed with the right amount of stock. One Rising Star said building a successful hardware store was also about remaining innovative and adapting to different climates. 

“Retailers need to ensure innovative marketing is in place as well as a great layout and products instore, backed by a good team,” another Rising Star said.

Heading into the future

When asked where they would like to be in the next 10 years, the Rising Stars spoke of their dreams for the future, which included becoming a store manager or general manager of chain of stores, as well as landing roles in IHG’s head office to assist other stores in realising their business goals.

The Rising Stars were then invited on-stage to receive their official accolades. Rising Star, Damien Stanoevski of Versatile Mitre 10, spoke on behalf of all Rising Stars, saying it had been an exceptionally beneficial week of not only bouncing ideas around, but also developing long lasting friendships.

“It is so important to ensure there are plenty of young people working within the Australian hardware industry. This can be done through the promotion of youth within the business, through the Rising Stars program and through our sponsors,” Mr Stanoevski said.

Guest speaker 

During the luncheon, special guest speaker and HIA Chief Economist, Tim Reardon, presented his insights on the current state of the hardware industry and his predictions for the future.

Mr Reardon also presented his latest economic forecast and trends retailers can expect within the market, to help make better business decisions.

Mr Reardon also spoke on the three ‘C’s’ that have led to the quietening of the building industry dynamic, including credit, consumption and confidence.

Mr Reardon’s three key messages during the presentation included pointing out how, “in the past five years residential home building has driven growth in Australia and for the next five years the home building industry will need the rest of the economy to step up to the plate and pull home building activity up.”

“The second is that the home building industry is currently experiencing the fastest down turn in activity that we have ever seen, to what will be the shallowest down turn, meaning the lowest point will still be fairly high by historical standards.”

“The third point is that whilst the last decade of economic growth has been achieved in spite of politicians, the next decade will be achieved because of them. Housing affordability will be another top three issue for the next election, above immigration and the environment. This is because it is so important for home owners to own their home when they retire,” he said.

Mr Reardon also pointed out that in the past five years the Australian building industry has built more than it ever has and also experienced a boom that has lasted longer than any of the previous booms.

“Over 187,000 homes per year was the record number of homes built set in 1994, which was beaten in 2016 with 233,000 new homes being built. This cycle came to an end quite quickly at the end of 2018.”

Mr Reardon also pointed out there continues to be a lot to
like about the Australian economy with the mining boom bust cycle now over and expectations from mining companies now positive. 

“Public sector investment in civil engineering projects undertaken by state governments is continuing to grow. It is for this reason concerns that the home building industry is going to pull the rest of the economy into a recession is probably over stated,” he said.