Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Doing business on the fly

When George Fendyk flies his Cessna light aircraft to Elmore field days next week, he'll be in very familiar territory.  

As co-founder of Burder Industries at Wangaratta, Mr Fendyk, 68, has been coming to the event for the past 25 years and sees it as an invaluable marketing exercise.

Even though son Adam has long since taken the managerial reins at Burder, Mr Fendyk still enjoys a hands-on role.

"I was born in Germany in 1944, but raised in Stanley and Beechworth," he said.

"I started my working life as a PMG telephone technician in the city, but when my dad, who was a butcher in Beechworth, rang one day to ask whether I'd like to come and work with him, I said I'd love to.

"I butchered then for another 23 years and eventually bought the business. Dad retired and it went on from there.

"When I was about 43, I took a break from butchering and bought in with Fabian Burder to enter the agricultural area," Mr Fendyk said.

"We started with five staff and a $350,000 turnover and I did the promotional work while Fabian took care of the engineering side.

"We made a good product, so it was easy to sell.

"Over 15 years or so, we grew to a $9 million turnover and 80 staff before Fabian stepped out about 10 years ago.

"My son, Adam, and I bought him out. Adam's now taken over from me, which is brilliant - he's grown the business enormously since then.

"I'm still managing director of the company, but Adam's been the CEO for nine years.

"I basically work under him, which is great - it means I can back off and do other things."

A pilot with some 30 years experience, Mr Fendyk regularly flies around the country in his near-new Cessna from his Beechworth home.

"I incorporate business everywhere I go," he said. "If I'm in a town, I make sure to drop in on the dealer. I've taken the plane as far as Perth and Karumba, up in the Gulf Country, and across to Tassie.

"It's a nice little aircraft which does about 120 knots at the best of times. I'll fly in to Elmore next week to stay the full three days.

"Over the years, I think the field days have been the only real way to get people to remember what you do.

"It's a very solid way of getting your product out.

"You meet people at the grassroots - the real farmers who know what's going on.

"We've been going to Elmore for about 25 years and, these days, do just a few regular ones each year - Henty, Elmore and Warragul, plus one other in Queensland."

Mr Fendyk has taken charge of some specialty product lines at Burder. Making race car trailer transporters and the Hodgco scraper are in his department.

"We've made a heap of trailers since we took over a company in Corowa about 12 years ago in the interests of diversification," he said.

"We now make about three of those a year.

"Over the years, we've tried not to put all our eggs in one basket - we've been involved in real estate and subdivision, plus a retirement village project.

"I play golf, I go fishing and camping and take it up to the young bucks in pool comps.

"I like to keep busy."

Original article:

No comments:

Post a Comment