Direct Edge chief executive Diane Edgerton has talked up the benefits of the firm’s location in the Tasmanian manufacturing hub of Burnie, despite all and sundry expressing doubts around the viability of the choice to remain based there.
Edgerton told Defence Connect’s Phillip Tarrant that in contrast to most people’s perception of the company’s home base, Burnie offered largely the same opportunities to connect to the wider market as most other Australian locations.
While standard questions put to Edgerton ad infinitum include classics like ‘why are you still there?’ and ‘why aren't you moving?’, the Direct Edge chief was adamant that, ultimately, it didn’t matter where the company chose to be based.
“I go: ‘what year are we in … what technology have we got?’,” she said. “To me, it's all about the people, the skills and everything that you've got there, but you shouldn't look at a place as being a hindrance to stop you from getting something.”
Edgerton was astounded at how many people assumed the island state could not provide a large enough pool of employees for the company. “A lot of people talk about Tassie and they go: ‘oh, if I come over, can I sort of go around it in a day?’” she said. “I'm just laughing, thinking: ‘yeah right’.”
However, Edgerton did note a challenge around attracting enough staff with the specific skillset required by the components provider.
“[That’s] because it’s a manufacturing hub in Burnie,” she said. “It’s very competitive there and, to me, it's about training your own [staff] because it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
“I find, for the quality that I require, it's better to teach them my way the first time, so that they actually know the quality that you're actually looking for.”