Strike up a conversation with Rural QLD Operations Manager Steven Taylor and it’s hard to believe his in depth knowledge of Ahrens’ Rural Infrastructure was ignited a mere two years ago.
Similarly, Steven’s strong connection with the Ahrens family and his team runs deep.
“I found exactly what I was looking for in a company with Ahrens,” he openly shares.
“I remember saying to my wife Megan and others, I wanted to work for a business that is family owned and Australian owned, and it cares and invests in its people.”
Steven added how some people said, ‘good luck’ and ‘you’re just chasing a dream’.
Unperturbed, he listened to a good friend who recommended him to Ahrens and moved from Bundaberg to Toowoomba, with the intention of also being closer to his family.
“When I was introduced to Ahrens and met the team, including Production Coordinator Leonie Bryant, I knew this is exactly what I was looking for; this is a place where I want to spend my working life and be a part of.”
Unsurprisingly, Steven’s friend turned out to be Ahrens Rural SA Operations Manager Mark Nacey. The two had struck up a working relationship 20 years earlier as boilermakers while working on a major project in Gove in the Northern Territory.
“We’ve maintained our friendship ever since because it was one of those jobs where you worked four weeks on one week off, 12 hours a day, so some people you tolerated others you formed a long-term friendship with,” he said.
Securing the role as Operations Manager for Ahrens Rural QLD division is a step up in Steven’s career, having previously worked as a Production Manager.
“While that was a lot bigger rapport, having had 100 employees to support as opposed to now, this job comes with a different and satisfying level of responsibility.”
His new leadership has meant focusing on helping Ahrens’ Rural division, across all its national sites, and its people to standardise the materials and processes of its Transportable Silo range to ultimately meet customers’ growing demands.
“Our farmers are salt of the earth; they are genuine, and I feel very grateful that our division can supply them with high-quality and cost-effective products that help them to feed Australia,” he said.
Steven says his reasons for getting out of bed each morning boils down to the people he works with and the families he works for, including his and Ahrens.
His own salt of the earth nature and enthusiasm recently led him to be chosen to join a group of 15 people to participate in the Ahrens Academy.
This prestigious in-house learning and development residential program, spanning five days, has been designed to support the company in identifying future leaders and develop a robust leadership pipeline.
It was also an opportunity for Ahrens people to focus on personal growth, and continues to have great success with cross-pollinating Ahrens’ strong culture across business.
“I’m still coming to terms with the Ahrens Academy … it was amazing,” he said.
“I have done a lot of training and a lot of courses and upskilling over the years but I have never experienced anything like that and it’s left me humbled.”
“I think that our Managing Director Stef Ahrens and the Board invest so much in the people in the business and it’s not just to enrich the business, it’s to enrich the people as well.”
While Steven’s journey with Ahrens might be short in comparison to longstanding fellow employees, he already fully believes in the Ahrens culture.
“It might sound cliché, but I love what we do. I have the opportunity to help people create better lives for themselves through working with Ahrens and then we openly acknowledge and celebrate that.”
“I think as you go through life and you experience different things you really start to understand the value of fulfilment and that doesn’t come in a pay check,” he said.