Berry industry attracts wide array of job talent
JOHN Chapman has worked on some of the world's largest engines and now he has brought his expertise to the Coffs Coast.
He is the new workshop manager at the Costa Berry farm at Corindi.
Starting out in Sydney as a fitter, John worked his way to become the Australian workshop manager for Wartsila - a Finnish company which designs and builds power plants and ship engines.
"They make the world's biggest engines and I had workshops in New Zealand, Melbourne, Papua New Guinea and Western Australia,” John said.
"Working in places like PNG, you really have to learn how to deal with different cultures and understanding the local customs.”
Among his varied jobs was replacing three 12 litre engines on the HMAS Success, servicing Sydney ferries and installing 3.5 tonne turbo-chargers on engines used for power generation in New Caledonia.
John said his move to Coffs Harbour was prompted partly by the lure of a lifestyle change, but also the challenge of working in a new industry.
"The Costa operation here is much larger than I expected. We have a wide range of talent in the Corindi workshop including heavy vehicle mechanics, tractor mechanics, metal machinists, electricians and panel beaters,” he said.
"We do all the maintenance for the equipment on the farm, including trucks, tractors, trailers, utes, through to servicing all the lawn mowers.”
John said he was also a big supporter of training young people and was looking at what opportunities could be offered in the future.
"I used to have army apprentices and I am still in contact with two of them 30 years later. It's important to be able to provide the training, as well as being a mentor.”