Geoff Taylor, Wayne Thomson, Jim Crooks, Graeme Adams and Paul Trotman have each notched up 25 years at WE Smith.
Geoff Taylor, Wayne Thomson, Jim Crooks, Graeme Adams and Paul Trotman have each notched up 25 years at WE Smith. BRUCE THOMAS

Loyal staff at heart of local firm

FIVE staff members at WE Smith Engineering have clocked up a total of 125 years of work at the Boambee engineering factory.

Geoff Taylor, Wayne Thomson, Jim Crooks, Graeme Adams and Paul Trotman were the guests of honour at a barbecue lunch and presentation at the factory yesterday.

The men, who started in various jobs at the company, now all have prominent roles with WE Smith.

Paul Trotman began work as a boilermaker and welder in May 1986 and became welding supervisor in 1990 and has been the factory’s manufacturing manager since 1997.

Wayne Thomson began as an apprentice in 1971 and although he left after finishing his apprenticeship to pursue several other challenges, he returned as a boilermaker and welder, became a leading hand and became an estimator in 2002.

Jim Crooks joined the company in 1986, later left for two years but returned in 1988 and became a leading hand in 1997.

Graeme Adams, who joined the company in 1986, is a cell leader, and Geoff Taylor, who joined in 1987, became a leading hand in 2000 and has been the machine shop supervisor since 2005.

Mr Taylor said he had left a steelworks in Wollongong and moved his family to Coffs Harbour for a better lifestyle and because he thought it was a better place to raise kids.

All his children are now adults and working in the city, but he is staying put. “It was the best thing we ever did,” he said.

Mr Thomson, who left Macksville High School to take up an apprenticeship as a boilermaker at the factory and has twice returned to work at WE Smith after trying other jobs, said it was a good company and he was planning to stay.

Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker last week raised in Federal Parliament the impact of ineffective Federal Government local content policies on manufacturing companies such as WE Smith.



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