Australian SWUG delegates work on leadership and commitment

The theme of Australia’s Single Width Users Group conference may have been ‘lean, green, safe and clean’ but the underlying message was very clearly about leadership and commitment, writes Peter Coleman.

SWUG vice president Anthony Payne – who has seen president Bob Lockley move from Rural Press to a position above him in Fairfax Media – talks lightly about his ambitions for the top job … and I suspect we’re not talking about the SWUG presidency.

And even up-and-coming apprentice Sarah Weldon – one of two honoured with encouragement awards – joked that she’s got her eyes on moving to the role of her mentor, Border Mail Printing print centre manager Frank O’Grady in about five years.

But it is (as a the song says) “a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll” and much of the weekend conference’s theme was about making the journey.

And perhaps wanting to do so.

A spoof ‘demotivational’ speaker at the awards dinner was never far from the topic of leadership with some well-researched philosophy he dubbed ‘Buddhism for bogans’. There were gems of spurious advice in, “the early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese”, and “never wrestle with a pig: you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it”.

From to here came the cry of, “I don’t want to play any more,” which was to be mentioned again the following morning in the real motivational address, from yachtsman Tony Mowbray. He it was whose 43-foot yacht was rocked an rolled, holed and dismasted in the ill-fated 1998 Sydney-Hobart race while he was preparing for the round-the-world epic he was later to swear off, and yet still complete.

There would have been plenty more reasons not to want to play in the ‘mock court’ which re-enacted occupational safety legislation designed to “punish the guilty and make the innocent nervous”. In it, there’s the familiar story of companies with (and frequently without) the capacity to pay being hammered while inadequate and irresponsible middle management (who might make good witnesses) are protected by prosecutors.

We’ll hope Weldon – conspicuously the only female delegate from a user site even remotely close to her tender years – isn’t put off a career in production management, after Lockley had a go at her at the dinner over a tendency to precede sentences with the word “umm”. The public humiliation was a very questionable gesture but one Lockley will no doubt justify on the basis that, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.

In our home page picture rotation:
• President Bob Lockley welcomes delegates to a reception at Albury library
• The BMP team have fun with presidential concepts
• News Limited environmental guru Tony Wilkins
• NASA ‘astronaut’ Steve Packham with Bob Lockley
• John Jennison models a SWUG paper hat
• Pulp facts from Norske Skog’s Albury mill general manager Svein Aurstad
• Country-style entertainment at the Kinross woolshed
• Gaby van Deventer brought xperiences from the Netherlands
• Jim Messer from Day International’s North Carolina facility
• Fairfax Media safety expert Bruce Treharne
• BMP apprentice Sarah Weldon answers questions from Frank O’Grady
• Rural Press Mandurah print manager Ron Brown with Terry Brissett and Bob Lockley
• Angelo Cirillo from Shepparton’s Newsprinters with Mark Gooding of Flint and Bob Lockley
• Apprentice of the year Mesm Noureddin (RPP Murray Bridge) with encouragement award winners Sarah Weldon (BMP) and James Johnstone (Capital Fine Print)
• Frank O’Grady explains features of the Border Mail Printing press facility

• See Winners' woodwork goes west
• Full report in the next issue of GXpress Magazine.
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