Meet Andrew Folker - Going from Strength to Strength
Andrew Folker is the Technical Product Manager based at MaxiTRANS’ Ballarat manufacturing facility. In his current role he assists the sales department with technical inquires about MaxiTRANS’ products and assists customers with technical queries or problems.
The 40 year-old also receives feedback and collates industry requirements that can be used to refine MaxiTRANS products to best meet industry needs through product development or small enhancements.
“I deal with all facets of the business, manufacturing, sales, product, warranty and engineering support,” Andrew says.
Andrew Folker joined MaxiTRANS in 2004 filling a temporary position.
“A friend of the family told me MaxiTRANS was in a growth stage in the Ballarat manufacturing plant when they were looking for people,” he says.
Andrew had just sold a business and he saw the MaxiTRANS job as a temporary fit to see him through.
“I thought I’d go to MaxiTRANS temporarily however I just worked my way through the business. I found ways that I could improve areas. I set my goals that I was going into that area and I could make a difference to the business.”
So that temporary job as an assembler on the factory floor has run on for 17 years and still going strong. Andrew completed appropriate schooling and climbed through the ranks in two different areas.
From the assembly line, Andrew moved into drafting, he did a diploma of management course and became the engineering team leader for Freighter. To bolster his qualifications and knowledge he then completed an engineering course.
“I was Freighter engineering lead for about eight years and then I went into product development for three years. At the beginning of this year I moved into this Technical Product Manager role.”
For Andrew Folker it really has been a case of working his way up through the ranks.
“Considering I only went there as a temporary job, I have really enjoyed it and I love it. I’ve had a lot of opportunity,” he says.
Andrew has been quick to identify areas of possible improvement in product design and production and says he was given the opportunity to move to implement the improvements.
Andrew Folker established an approach to his work within MaxiTRANS: get experience and become educated in that field, an approach he says has assisted him in getting the positions in which he was interested.
Andrew grew up and went to school in Ballarat. At 20 years-old he hit the backpacker track and spent the best part of a year in Europe.
Returning to Australia he started his own business which he sold and that led to the temporary job at MaxiTRANS.
Today Andrew is married with three children, two girls and a boy, 14, 12 and seven. And the family dog, a much loved little blue whippet.
Working with MaxiTRANS
“The most satisfying part of my job is getting a result and taking people on a journey to get that result. That could be working with a customer or a salesperson who was looking for a solution for a particular transport need. Or it might be discussing improvements in product or processes and making that happen,” Andrew says.
He says he also gets job satisfaction in training new people to the business, whether it be in engineering or working with trailer sales people, watching people grow and evolve in the business.
On the challenging side, Andrew Folker says the continuous growth of the business has meant that all staff members have had to learn to adapt with the business as it changed and grew./p>
“Seventeen years ago when I started, it was a small tight-knit group and now the business has grown. It is still tight but it is a mammoth business now. The growth has meant having to change the way we think, the way we behave, and processes. That’s probably been my biggest challenge because we all treat the business as our own. We treat the money we spend as if it was our own money.”/p>
“I love working for MaxiTRANS. It has always provided opportunities for me when I have looked for it. I have met and made many lifelong friends through MaxiTRANS. I was best man for two mates I met through MaxiTRANS. It is just a really good community-based business to work with.”/p>
Andrew says he has pointed people in the direction of MaxiTRANS. One such person has just celebrated his 15th year work anniversary./p>
“I got him the job here. We used to work together at McDonald’s as kids. He was looking for something else so I said come up here and give it a go and he hasn’t looked back.”
And Andrew Folker says there is something special about working for MaxiTRANS.
“We are the best in the business. MaxiTRANS is up there, industry leaders. It makes you proud to be a part of that.”