Where were you born?
In Estcourt, not far from the coastal city of Durban, the most famous town in South Africa! Don’t laugh, hear me out. In 1917 the famous Estcourt Bacon Factory was born and its Eskort brand of pork products. During World War 2 over 1-million tins of sausages were supplied to the Allied Forces all over the world and over 12 tons of bacon per week was supplied to convoys calling at Durban harbour. So, I guess my close affinity with the Filipinos was meant to be, because we all know their passion for roasted pig or “lechon”!
Why did you immigrate to Perth?
I can thank my wife, she forced me! In 1997 Rebecca or Bekky as she is more fondly known, arrived in Cape Town for her younger brother's wedding. We hadn’t met before, but we had been introduced by a mutual friend and communicated via phone, letter and fax (no emails back then). Anyway, it was love at first sight and after a brief return to Perth after the wedding, Bekky returned to Cape Town to work her magic and bring me back to her home. I put up some resistance with flowers and chocolates but in 1998 she forced me into the plane and out of my beloved country to a big island in the middle of nowhere called Australia.
Why did you join the building industry?
I ask myself that very day! No, it’s been wonderful even with the many challenges. Every job has it's challenges and you grow and learn from them. In South Africa and my first few years in Australia, I was working in the insurance industry. In early 2010 the insurance company I was working with went through some re-structuring and I was offered a redundancy. That was actually a blessing in that I was looking for a change and to do something different. A building consultant is paid commission only so with some of the money from the redundancy it enabled me to give the building industry a go.
Why and how did you become involved with the Filipino community?
Because they love their food and having good time! Hey, I’m a wog and we also love our food and having a good time. It was meant to be! Anyway, how it all began was soon after I joined the building industry I had the opportunity to meet the lovely Tom and Fe Candido and their family. They became the first Filipinos to build a home with me. (recently I was honoured to build their second home!) I developed an instant connection with Tom and Fe and because they trusted me they started referring all their friends. Then over the years I started meeting many of the Filipino community leaders and became very involved with many of their events and initiatives. I love the energy and passion of Filipinos. They have a great work ethic that is wonderful to observe.For the most part, they are a very appreciative community which gives me great pleasure in helping them.
What is the main challenge you have faced in your work?
Trying to keep control of my weight because Filipinos just want to keep feeding me! On a serious note, building a home is a life-long commitment. I don't believe builders have shown enough respect to their clients by doing enough to deliver great outcomes. In my first 7 years in the industry I struggled to find a builder that shared my values and passion for genuinely caring about their clients. They all say the right things, but have often fallen short of delivering. My daily challenge is to manage expectations, communicate effectively, maintain the relationships and provide solutions to ensure a win win for all parties.
Do you love what you do?
We all have our good and bad days, but I don't have any regrets about working in the building industry. That feeling of handing over the keys to someones new home is extremely satisfying. To see the tears of joy, the excitement and the gratitude of my clients can be very overwhelming. It makes me very proud that I was a part of them achieving their dream of owning their own home, particularly when many think it would never be possible. So yes, I love what I am doing and helping people fulfill their dreams.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Spending time with my family time and friends is always special and I need to start doing more of this. I was always a rugby union and cricket fanatic, but since arriving in Australia footy has grown on me. Go the Eagles! I love cycling, except in winter where a nice warm bed is hard to beat! I love the outdoors and gardening and could do that all day. Last but not least, who doesn't enjoy a good cup of coffee!
That's a little bit about me, now I'd love to get to know YOU better!