by Mollie Berry
Mollie Berry interviews David Forrest for his insights on the business world.
Where did you start in the workforce and what led you to your current position?
That was a few years ago Mollie, originally I was accepted into Uni as a Physical Education Teacher – late 1980’s.– my dream job in Highschool & Matriculation However, I chose to do Aquaculture at University Launceston, it was the first time the course was offered, a 2 year Associate Diploma – then extended to a 3 year Diploma course to support an industry in it’s infancy. Today you can even do a doctorate, I think.
This decision was made as the family had been involved in the Aquaculture Industry (oysters) since I was 15 years old. I spent 28 years in the family business Barilla Bay, building Barilla Bay Oysters to be an internationally recognised purveyor of fine Oysters. The construction of Barilla Bay Restaurant and Gourmet food stop was finished in 2004, Winning best Seafood Restaurant in Tasmania 2004 & 2005. Won Tas Tourism award for best new development and represented the State at the National final awards in 2005.
The business was recognised as a world leader in Aqua Tourism including Farm tours, hosting numerous awards dinners, product launches and even the Launch of one of Virgins New Aircraft. We even put together an Oyster Book which Won Best Seafood Cookbook in Australia at the Gourmand World Cookbook awards.
I left the family business to come and work with Tassal after a fall out with my parents (that’s an even a longer story) - an interesting outcome considering I was part of the Next Generation Committee with Family Business Australia, a great organisation.
Tassal were looking for someone with my skill sets and I was interested in the position they were offering.
What are your key responsibilities at Tassal?
I am fortunate to understand most parts of the business and don’t just limit myself to the marketing side but enjoy contributing in other areas of the business. My immediate responsibilities include the successful running of the Salamanca Shop and New mobile salmon truck and ensuring they meet not just Company expectations but also that of the community – we are the face of the Company within Tasmania so that first point of contact can be critical in community engagement.
I have also been responsible for building a shop in Melbourne and assisting De Costi Seafoods at The Royal Sydney Easter Show each year since the Company’s take over 3 years ago.
What are some of the challenges you face in a normal day?
Daily challenges generally include insuring we remain focused on our goals each day and contribute towards the greater Company goals. There are always business challenges and personal challenges each day and ensuring that people come to work each day and leave safe is a key priority. Hopefully the business and even myself can help them learn and grow each day assisting in creating a highly successful team with the same vision.
As the National Business Manager, what are some of the projects or initiatives you are most proud of?
As I mentioned earlier, being flexible is the key to the opportunities that are presented to you. I am open to anything. And in the words of some of my bosses, I get stuff done.
I work with new product development and logistics when required and find that interesting.
Strangely enough I think one of my best achievements for the Company was closing our Melbourne Shop. We had a short period of time to make good and exit the business. I maintained a full staff crew until the last day of business and made the rest disappear – including the sale of the remainder of the business to a new building owner. This was all done after just one conversation with my boss, faith and trust go a long way!
Do you have any tips for students interested in management?
Relationships are the key – ensure you develop and learn all the traits of a good manager – trust, sharing, empathy, have a vision, etc.
Remember respect goes both ways – you will be treated as you treat others!
Management within an organization will be different from managing your own business but the basic principles will always be the same.
If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life – I did that for 28 years within my family business.
Never be satisfied with second best – It will destroy you from the inside.
Dream of being the best in the world, and then do it!
TUBES Publications are a collection of interviews, guides, and articles on all things Business & Economics. Sign up for our newsletter, where you'll get regular updates for all future TUBES publications.