Angie Venekamp-2012

 

4/22/12  The experience has arrived...

The buildup to the trip grew as time got closer; I worked diligently to clear my desk of open projects and encouraged clients to finalize their orders for their summer weddings.  In addition to my work obligations, I also spent a great deal of time fretting over getting my family organized with whom is taking what child to what obligation.  One day I was filling in the calendar with what direction which child was going in, what time they needed to be where, and who was minding the children when my husband said to me "we are going to be okay you know".  I laughed and realized he was right.

I arrived in Sydney, Australia on Saturday, April 21.  Mark and Christine Scarce have welcomed me into their home and made me feel part of the family. I only arrived yesterday and have already met many of their extended family. I am set to start work Monday, April 23 at Camden Hire.  I am looking forward to being emerged into the day to day functions of the store.

Until next time.....

4/29/12

Well time sure does fly.  I have been here a week already!  I have spent my time observing the gents at the front counter at Camden Hire's Narellan Branch.  After a couple of days they had me starting to do a little work with their computer system, a little daunting at times but I am picking it up along with answering some phones.  This makes the day go by quickly. I would say that the fast pace of the store is the biggest difference to my store back home.

I have had the opportunity to tour all of Camden Hire's locations and am looking forward to spending a little time in each of them.  Mark Scarce also took me to meet the staff at Hurricane Hire.  I appreciate the time that Peter took to talk with me and give me a tour of his operations.  It was great to see how innovative he has been for all of his storage needs.

Saturday night Mark Scarce and his wife Christine and I went into Sydney and had dinner with Phil Newby, CEO of HRIA and his wife Linda; Jenny and her husband Hans from HRIA; Pete and Jill with Kennards Hire and ARA Chairman Ted Cook and his wife Suzette.  We had a lovely dinner at Cafe Sydney with an amazing view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

This week I will be heading to the Gold Coast for the HRIA's annual conference and trade show where I will be working with the HRIA staff on the conference.  I am looking forward to seeing a little bit of the coast while I am there.

Until next time....

5/6/12

This has been a whirlwind of a week!  I have had the opportunity to work with the Hire and Rental Industry Association (HRIA) during this week assisting with the registration desk at the annual conference and trade show.  This allowed me the occasion to meet many of their members. I am finding the friendliness of the members in Australia to be very similar to those back home as we all have a common ground.

I attended the opening session on Wednesday,which had three fantastic speakers. Robert Mellor, an Australian economist, gave an overview of the industry in relation to the Australian economy.  In a nutshell things are looking up and significant growth can be seen through 2014.  Mike Walsh gave an inspiring presentation on a look into the future, what the next generation of staff, managers and owners will be looking for.  Clio Cresswell presented on mathematics and sex.  She definitely drew a crowd of people to hear what she had to say! 

I had the chance to sit in on a session on presentation skills by Andrew Klein.  He covered many tips to better your presentations, whether it be presenting to hundreds of people or to a small group of one or two customers.  Either way you are still "presenting"! This will help me greatly when I return home and share my trip experiences.

The trade show floor was good with about 250 exhibitors representing a wide range of products displayed.  Very similar to The Rental Show but on a smaller scale.  Approximately 300 attendees visited the show. The third day saw a great deal of activity at the "equipment in action day" which is a unique opportunity for people to have a hands-on experience with different equipment ranging from tents to aerial work platforms and telehandlers. This was a fantastic, unique and educational day.

The conference wrapped up with a well attended gala dinner that included the awards presentation with dinner and dancing into the late hours.

I really appreciated all the time the HRIA executive members and staff took to show me how they run their show, it has provided me with many ideas to implement back home.

Until next time....

5/13/12

Wow does time fly!!

I have been here for three weeks already and only have two left.  

This last week I spent a couple of days in the Party Hire division of Camden Hire.  I was shown the ropes and was able to assist in working on a sales database as well as helping customers with their needs.  It was very interesting to see how things are done differently here.  Many areas like storage, maintenance and trucking all are different compared to how we do things back home in Canada.  I was also able to participate in an accounting staff meeting. I appreciated this opportunity as it gave me many ideas that I can take back home and implement in our business. 

The staff and management here are a great group of people.  As I spend more time here I am able to piece things together when I am working at the front counter and talking with the customers. I was able to go on the road with a Camden Hire sales rep as he made sales calls in nearby subdivisions, it was a very informative day.  This all helps me gain a bigger picture of the entire business and the areas they serve.

I have had some time to enjoy the sites that Sydney has to offer.  On Saturday I went to a Rotary Australia event at the Horse Race Track as Camden Hire was the sponsor of the race.  I was allowed to go track side and have a photo taken with the winning horse. I felt a little like royalty with all the paparazzi taking our picture!

I cannot believe that I only have two weeks left here.  I am starting to prepare for my departure and planning my goodbyes.  It is quite an emotional time actually.  This has been an amazing experience.

Until next time....

5/20/12

This has been the fastest month ever as I prepare to head home in less than a week.  It has been a very busy week here at Camden Hire with all sorts of activity.  Just as my trip draws to a close, I am getting to know some of the regular customers by name. 

I have spent a little more time focusing on the transport runs of Camden Hire this week, learning about their successful delivery and pick up system.

I was also able to spend a little time in Camden Hire's Casula branch this past week.  This branch is a bit smaller than the Narellan branch.  It was good to see the same practices implemented for the high efficiency of the larger branch used here as well.  The Casula branch serves as support to the Narellan branch when business is very busy over there.  The Camden Hire operation is very finely tuned and runs exceptionally well.

I am looking forward to the next week.  It is shaping up to be another busy week and also my last week here in Australia.  Stay tuned for more on my final adventures.

Until next time.....

5/26/12

The fastest five weeks ever!

My last week at Camden Hire proved to be one of the busiest yet.  I went to the Northern Beaches to the HRIA head office to meet with Phil Newby, CEO of HRIA and the rest of the staff.  After a tour of the newly expanded offices Phil and Christine took us out for a lovely lunch.  This gave us a chance to catch up following the HRIA Convention at the Gold Coast.  This was the best time of year for a leadership program participant to come to Australia.  The convention proved to be a valuable insight into the association here. Having met so many of the regular and associate members at the convention, I was able to see many of them again in the remaining weeks of my trip.  Many of the salesmen that called on us at the store were people that I had met at the convention. This brought great awareness to the Global Rental Alliance and the leadership program.

I was also lucky enough to be treated to a scenic flight over Sydney and the surrounding area by Mike Scarce.  It was exciting to be able to see all the places that I had been over the last five weeks by air to put everything into perspective.  I spent a day with Graham Mulley, Camden Party Hire's manager.  He took me around to visit many stores such as Yes Event Solutions in Barow-thank you Karen for the time you spent showing me your creative solutions for storage. I also visited Kennards Hire in Mittagong-thank you to Nathan who took time out of his busy day to talk about how things differ between Canada and Australia. I must say that the biggest commonality between the two countries is how friendly everyone is.

As the week drew to a close it was bitter sweet. I was ready and anxious to see my family again but at the same time not quite ready to leave Australia. It was a great experience to work along with all the staff at Camden Hire.  They have a great family atmosphere in the store with an all for one and one for all attitude.  It was so nice to be a part of the camaraderie between them. They were always so helpful if I had a question or needed assistance with something, never a hesitation to teach me whatever it was I wanted to know.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a staff meeting of the tanker and fencing drivers on my last day.  The group went over some details then shared ideas and thoughts to assist the drivers daily routines.  I appreciated being included in this discussion.  Following that meeting I joined the marketing meeting where we worked on the Camden Hire marketing plan for the next couple of months.  I hope to implement a similar strategy back home on this sort of forward thinking.

I wish to thank Mark and Christine Scarce for volunteering to host another leadership participant. It is a big undertaking to open your home up to a complete stranger for five whole weeks.  Mark and Christine have a wonderful family and they all welcomed me with open arms.  I joined in on their day to day lives and have made some unbelievable friends. I must admit that the one thing that I was not prepared for was that I would become so close with my host family, it is a very rewarding bonus to the program that made it very difficult to say good bye.

I would like to thank the Global Rental Alliance, ARA Foundation, Hire and Rental Industry Association and the Canadian Rental Association for this amazing opportunity.  I have gained some unbelievable knowledge from this experience and can only hope that I was able to leave a little wisdom behind on how we do things back home.

Thank you all, this was a wonderful experience.

Angie Venekamp