Embodying the Ahrens spirit for 45 years & counting
Dave & Froggy's story forms essence of Ahrens
Few have witnessed as much as valued Ahrens employees, David Staehr and Malcolm Handke, better known as Dave and Froggy; both of whom have been with Ahrens for over 45 years and in this time, experienced two generations of the Ahrens family leadership.
Working their way from the ground up, these two men truly understand the very essence of what makes up an Ahrens employee – determination, loyalty, innovation and strong family values. Dave and Froggy’s humble beginnings with Ahrens have helped create the strong foundations that have been pivotal in the growth of the company.
Both Dave and Froggy began their careers at Ahrens in 1976 at a young age, when now Managing Director, Stefan Ahrens, was only eight years old. Froggy began his career as an apprentice and continuously strived for more. Soon after, he became a fully qualified Boilermaker before being promoted to Leading Hand Supervisor in 1995 – a position that he continues to hold after 26 years. Dave fondly remembers travelling to Ahrens – then W Ahrens & Son – at Sheaoak Log to buy steel for repairs and maintenance on his family farm. Bob saw Dave’s potential and offered him an apprenticeship. Following the completion of his apprenticeship as a boilermaker, Dave became Workshop Supervisor in 1986 – a position that he continues to hold after 35 years.
Dave and Froggy became well-respected members of the Ahrens team, especially the Ahrens family. Bob Ahrens has fond memories of the first day of employment for Dave and Froggy. He recalls their fathers arriving with them, and giving them a tour of the workshop.
"After the tour, I remember [Dave & Froggy's] fathers giving them a stern lecture, saying 'now you bloody look after your job, and remember you’ve got to work.' And that they did," Bob reflects.
"I treasure these top blokes, and really enjoyed working with them in the early years. They are always there to help and when I need anything, they are always there to fix me up."
Dave recalls the days when the workshop had only ten employees, and has fond memories of working alongside Bob in the workshop. Both Dave and Froggy attribute their success within Ahrens to the caring nature of the Ahrens Family, inclusive environment and opportunities presented through developmental training.
Highlighting the importance of great people, they reflect on who they have met on their journeys – the unique stories and backgrounds of our diverse workforce. Dave and Froggy have become iconic figures and role models in the company and within the community at large.
Their wealth of experience with Ahrens have also allowed them to mentor many other workers, especially those entering the workforce for the first time. Froggy’s one piece of advice to his fellow peers is to ‘work hard to progress within the company and celebrate all your wins along the way.’