In 2004, Andrew Folker joined MaxiTRANS to fill a temporary position. Fast forward to now, and he’s kicking goals as the technical product manager at MaxiTRANS’ Ballarat manufacturing facility.
“A friend of the family told me MaxiTRANS was in a growth stage in the Ballarat manufacturing plant when they were looking for people,” recalled Folker, who had just sold the business he started. He took on a job as an assembler on the factory floor at MaxiTRANS, which he saw as a temporary gig to see him through.
“I thought I’d go to MaxiTRANS temporarily however I just worked my way through the business. I found ways that I could improve areas. I set my goals that I was going into that area and I could make a difference to the business,” he said.
While at MaxiTRANS, Folker completed the appropriate schooling and climbed through the ranks in two different areas. From the assembly line, he moved into drafting, he did a diploma of management course and became the engineering team leader for Freighter. To bolster his qualifications and knowledge, he then completed an engineering course.
“I was Freighter engineering lead for about eight years and then I went into product development for three years. At the beginning of this year I moved into this technical product manager role.”
Now 40-year-old Folker deals with all facets of the business, including manufacturing, sales, product, warranty and engineering support.
His role involves everything from assisting the sales department with technical product enquiries or problems, to receiving feedback and collating industry requirements to help refine the MaxiTRANS range of products.
“Considering I only went there as a temporary job, I have really enjoyed it and I love it. I’ve had a lot of opportunity,” Folker added.
He’s been quick to identify areas of possible improvement in product design and production and says he was given the opportunity to move to implement the improvements.
“The most satisfying part of my job is getting a result and taking people on a journey to get that result. That could be working with a customer or a salesperson who was looking for a solution for a particular transport need. Or it might be discussing improvements in product or processes and making that happen,” Folker said.
He said he also gets job satisfaction in training new people to the business, whether it be in engineering or working with trailer sales people, watching people grow and evolve in the business.
“Seventeen years ago when I started, it was a small tight-knit group and now the business has grown. It is still tight but it is a mammoth business now. The growth has meant having to change the way we think, the way we behave, and processes. That’s probably been my biggest challenge because we all treat the business as our own. We treat the money we spend as if it was our own money,” Folker said.
“I love working for MaxiTRANS. It has always provided opportunities for me when I have looked for it. I have met and made many lifelong friends through MaxiTRANS. I was best man for two mates I met through MaxiTRANS. It is just a really good community-based business to work with.”