TRADES SECTOR: Gary Campbell, owner of Campbell Fabricating and Engineering, at his Lockrose shed.
TRADES SECTOR: Gary Campbell, owner of Campbell Fabricating and Engineering, at his Lockrose shed. Meg Bolton

Business owner uses basic concept to continue success

WHEN Gary Campbell's father Alex purchased a business an hour away from the family's Brisbane home, it wasn't the cliche of city slickers buying a life in the country.

The family had recently immigrated from Northern Ireland and buying a business surrounded by farmland reminded them of home.

In 1988, they purchased a pump repair business, Waite's Pump Repairs at Lockrose, and opened as Campbell Fabricating and Engineering, and the father-and-son team soon began taking on every job they could find.

Gary and his father used their multi- skilled experience to do almost any job, regardless of how big or small.

The pair were fitters and turners by trade, but the business initially was mostly pump and irrigation repairs and machinery repairs and modifications.

Gary said business was initially slow, but with just him, Alex and previous business owner Ken they managed to get by.

Within a couple of years they experienced their first breakthrough.

"We scored a contract with a sugar mill building 60cubic metre sugar cane bins - that really got us going,” Gary said.

With 80 bins to build, more hands were required and the business employed additional staff.

Gary said from that moment, the business had continued to develop.

More than 30 years on, along with an increased staff, the physical structure of the business has also expanded.

The boilermakers, fitters and turners and trades assistant now work out of two sheds on the Lockrose property, fully fitted out with a fine range of machinery.

Gary said although the business had significantly grown from its early days, the staff still took on a wide range of jobs.

"There's a lot of different caps to wear,” Gary said.

"It's not just making or repairing one thing. You need a broad knowledge base.”

Gary said his staff now built a wide range of agricultural equipment, including conveyor systems, grading and washing equipment, and large tipping trailers.

While making quality items was always what the team strived for, Gary said the focus of the business came down to basics.

"I treat the customers how I would like to be treated and maintain a good working relationship,” Gary said.

He said at the end of the day, his customers and quality staff were the real reason for the success of the business.

With reputation being the main source of advertising for the business, Gary's concept has proven to be successful.

At the Lockyer Chamber of Commerce and Industry recognition dinner 2019, the business will be acknowledged for its achievements in the trades sector.

The dinner will be held on Friday, June 7 at Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre.

The night will include a two-course meal with pre- dinner drinks and finger food.

Graham 'Snowy' Snow will be the master of ceremonies, keeping guests entertained.

The night will feature recognition of five local businesses or businesspeople that have excelled in their field.

This year, the chamber will recognise Valley Irrigation, Steel and Fencing in Gatton in the Long-Term Business category, Bridgestone Select Plainland in New Business, Gatton Florist in Retail, Campbell Fabricating and Engineering at Lockrose in Trades and Val Vaughan in Retired.

The Lockyer Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a committed group of businesspeople who believe in seeking the best outcomes for business and industry in the Lockyer Valley.

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