‘Berger’ goes the “extra mile”
How Berger has become part of the company's fabric for 30 years
Wayne ‘Berger’ Hartwich, Ahrens’ Operations Manager of Rural Victoria has been part of the company’s fabric for 30 years this October, candidly remarking that he’s “part of the furniture”.
Kickstarting his career with Jaeschke Silos at Tarranyurk, Berger joined Ahrens after Stefan acquired the Victorian-based business in 2011.
The acquisition led to 25 Jaeschke employees, including Berger, joining the Ahrens family helping the company to become the biggest manufacturer of field bins and transportable silos in Australia.
Satisfied with a job where no two days are the same, Berger says his current role has him travel far and wide to support his teams.
“Sunday I was in Tasmania for a silo division there, I then flew back into Victoria Monday night, Tuesday I was in Tarranyurk, then I drove to Adelaide and there until Thursday then back to Tarranyurk,” he shared. However, he’s generally based between Tarranyurk and Nhill, Victoria.
Berger’s position involves helping onboard staff, people management, transport and logistics and anything else to make the business run smoothly and successfully.
“These days there is a lot of managing people to make sure we are ticking along nicely,” he said.
During Berger’s young years he was a mechanic by trade and began as a welder, so he certainly understands and appreciates the skill and art behind the engineering discipline.
“I’ve worked every job in between welding to get to where I am now,” he enthused.
The strong work ethic he carved as a young employee remains with him today with his hands on approach evident, coupled by the fact he enjoys helping across the workshop floor.
And if you ask Berger, he’ll tell you he much prefers donning the orange uniform over the corporate outfit – any day.
However, he’s extremely grateful to Ahrens for providing him the opportunity to grow his skill set to manage people.
“Support is always there when needed, whether it’s Stef, Aaron, Sam and Mirela or the rest of the team. I am appreciative Ahrens has got me to where I am now,” he said.
“I also appreciate that Stef sometimes calls just to check in and ask how the family is.”
Berger’s reason for getting out of bed each morning and heading to the office is the “good people” he works alongside, and it’s clearly visible his down-to-earth manner is well received by all.
But adds, “A manager is only as good as his team”.
“It’s a great culture at Tarranyurk because of the good people and family values. Our employees usually stay as we boast longstanding Ahrens service employees.”
Berger cites camaraderie within the workplace and the lifelong friends made from the Ahrens family of employees make up his fondest memories of his career.
“I also enjoy the clientele I work with and I especially enjoy the farmers I deal with. Some relationships span 10-20 years and are repeat customers of ours. I also worked with parents and now the next generation are our customers,” he said.
The ongoing rapport he’s forged with customers is based on honesty and trust, and when you meet Berger, you soon discover he is a natural-born storyteller.
Chances are Berger’s customers and some of his staff reading this story already know much about his past yet were surprised to learn his real name is Wayne, but that’s another story.