Glenn Davis is a man on a mission … an entrepreneur at heart, he is also very passionate about building growth in our local trades industries and is generous when it comes to putting great ideas into action. We talked to Glenn recently to find out more about a couple of really amazing initiatives that he’s been instrumental in getting up and running – the Midcoast Renovation and Lifestyle Expo, and the Taree Career and Trades Expo.
Thanks for your time, Glenn — let’s start with your background and links to the area.
I’ve always wanted to be a carpenter, for as long as I can remember. When I was a teenager, we would build double storey cubby houses with balconies … so, yeah, I always wanted to build things. I kick-started my business when I relocated to the area from Bathurst-Mudgee in 2015. My business, “Glenn Davis Carpentry” came about after I had repeated requests from local people I’d met since moving here – it was the best decision I’ve made in quite a while. I have since rebranded, and we are now known as “Distinctive Building Co”.
I love working here, I love the customers I have, and I love the flexibility of working for myself and providing a fantastic team culture in my business that I don’t believe many businesses offer. I believe that in business, everything comes down to the ability to build great relationships; that, and trust, honesty and open communication. That’s what drives me … not the financial side of business. It’s not just a job … we are a team, and we all work hard to be the best we can be as individuals, and as a group.
I like being involved in our community with the encouragement of more traineeships and apprenticeships, keeping our kids local and getting more tradesmen.
The Midcoast Renovation and Lifestyle Expo is something you have been instrumental in kicking off in the local area. It obviously took a lot of effort and energy, but it sounds like it was really well received by the local public. What was the driver or motivation in setting this up?
The first Midcoast Renovation and Lifestyle Expo was held on the 24th August 2019 at the Manning Valley Racecourse and Winning Post Function Centre. I was focused on providing an event where locals can see that there are a large number of businesses here in the renovation sector who are very enthusiastic and eager to do business in the community.
We had approximately 40 exhibitors, and it was sensational! The group of businesses were very keen to be involved, and the visitors on the day gave us very positive feedback. We had a wonderful briefing evening leading up to the event; all the exhibitors attended and shared their ideas, and we all had some guidance from Business Coach Chris Mackey on how to make the most out of the day – which was fantastic.
How many attended, and what was the feedback?
We had approximately 1,500 visitors attend. Every business that exhibited on the day reported very positive results; some booked jobs on the day with their expo specials on offer and others, myself included, booked a very large number of quotes, some of which have already been booked in as proceeding jobs. I’m informed the pool company sold two on the day. Awesome.
It sounds like you’re planning a 2020 Renovation and Lifestyle Expo – I know it’s early in the piece, but what are the dates for the next one?
Yes, we are planning the next expo to be held on Saturday, 29th August 2020.
I understand you’re also involved in an annual Career and Trades Expo, with this year’s event being held in September (as we go to print). What is your involvement in this initiative, and how did it come about?
Sure … So, last year I attended a local school’s course selection evening, and I walked away feeling very disappointed at how much emphasis was placed on kids needing to get a good ATAR for university, and how much pressure there seems to be for them to succeed doing their HSC.
For me, I totally don’t agree. I believe that the HSC is not the be-all and end-all. So many kids use school to kill time before they decide what they want to do. I like to consider myself an entrepreneur, and school is not equipped for entrepreneurs. It’s equipped for workers with a worker mentality.
Some schools seem to think that doing a trade is just for the troubled kids, or kids who aren’t so smart, and that really bugs me. So rather than whinge about it, I decided to make something happen.
I met with the local schools, employment agencies, local business and decided to make a change locally. I’ve been attending a number of schools, TAFE colleges, and being a guest speaker discussing trades careers. I’ve also been helping get back what used to be called “work experience” (or “work placement”, as it’s now referred to) and this seems to be beneficial to helping students get a taste of a trade. Some schools are on board; some aren’t… but we push on.
This is where my idea of the Taree Careers and Trades Expo comes from — my passion is to help kids understand that it’s OK not to go to uni. They can attend the expo and talk directly to numerous trades, not just building, but various, and gain some understanding on how to approach an employer and the kinds of things to expect being a tradie and so on.
It’s obviously an event that is of great benefit to local school leavers, but what have been the benefits that you’ve seen come out of a day like this?
Basically, it’s the amount of information we are able to provide to students. The schools do have a similar day but, in my opinion — and from the feedback I’ve received from a number of the exhibitors – the kids who come to our expo are there because they want to be there. They are keen to ask questions; they listen, they are completely engaged.
In fact, last year, from the first-ever Taree Careers and Trades Expo, I understand that approximately six apprenticeships were generated from the event. Also, it was a great opportunity for employers to find good potential employees. So, yes, our eyes are open and looking on the day. I do believe I have been able to generate a lot more awareness and interest in these areas with my efforts, and the efforts of all the business who give up their time to attend the careers expo.
I have sat down and discussed this in detail with David Gillespie MP, and it was also an honour for me that David spoke about me and the careers expo on the floor of parliament.
Any other thoughts/comments?
I’m always interested to hear from any business or organisation that wishes to assist me in driving the local economy trades sector and increasing the opportunity for our youth. IT’S OK NOT TO GO TO UNI.
For more info, you can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tareecareersandtradieexpo and https://www.facebook.com/distinctivebuildingco
Interview: Ingrid Bayer.