Words | Alan Cransberg
Images | Peel Development Commission
Q How long has your family been in the Peel region, and how did they come to settle in the area?
I was brought up in Bunbury and left to go to Uni after high school. When I completed my engineering degree, I stayed in Perth for a few years then had the opportunity to start a bauxite mine at a place called Willowdale out the back of Waroona. I lived in Waroona and then Mandurah for four years in the mid 80s before moving back to Perth. I then had three more years in Mandurah from 1998 to 2000 before an eight year stint in the USA (ending up with three years in New York). I moved back to Mandurah in 2008 and still live in the house we bought back in 1998.
Q What was your most memorable board or corporate moment? Why?
Two come to mind. The first corporate moment was the work we did with a team in Texas to turn a Refinery operation around. The team there worked with me as the Plant manager to take an operation that had lost $50M the previous year to a profitable operation. Taught me a lot about the power of a team and getting everyone on board even though we had to make a lot of tough decisions. The other one was being part of the team that got West Coast Eagles (I was Chairman at the time) to a Grand Final appearance in 2015. We lost and I remember very well the pride in our organisation to get the team there but the feeling it was not enough just to get there — we had to win it and we did not achieve that. We learned and reloaded.
Q What important lessons from the corporate sector still shape your leadership approach today?
Main lesson is about the fact that a team delivers the results and you have to have a good team around you. Also learned that good teams must have good leaders to help engage, prioritise, coach and celebrate. I think there are a lot of analogies between sport and the corporate world and playing a lot of sport has helped me develop as a corporate leader.
Q What do you see for the overall future of the Peel region?
We will continue to grow and be a vital identity in our own right while also being a key population centre close to Perth. I do not shy away from the latter as it is our reality but will never use it as an excuse not to create our own identity and be a place where people want to work and play. The biggest challenge for us is to maintain the amenity of this beautiful region while finding the right way to grow economic sustainability in a socially and environmentally responsible way. The other challenge we have is to create better sustainable employment opportunities for our region — our economic base needs broadening.
Q What are some of you favourite places/people/experiences in the Peel region?
I love the diversity of the region. Firstly the beaches ad the rivers/estuary and canals are wonderful recreation places. I like the casual nature of the region — it is a place where people are naturally friendly and engaging. I also love the experiences that the forests can bring and places like Jarrahdale and Dwellingup are growing in their popularity and ability for people to get out and mix with the environment that we are lucky enough to have in our region.
Q What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I love to travel. Ever since taking a year off work in my late 20’s to backpack around the world, I have loved experiencing different cultures and meeting people who are different to us. Other than that, I love being with my family, snow skiing, boating and playing bridge. I am also on four not-for-profit boards to put something back into the community and enjoy that. And, I am a sports nut who will watch most high-level sports with a special love for football and basketball.
This article was first published in the Peel Magazine, Spring/Summer – vol 5.2 – to read and download the full magazine, click here.