POWER 40: Sneak peek at Gympie’s most influential #39
COMING in at No 39 on the 2020 list of the Gympie region’s most powerful and influential people is the man in charge of more than 300 employees and 30 full-time contractors at Laminex, formerly known as the Carter Holt Harvey timber processing facility.
The facility is expected to double its original size - and increase its workforce - once it rolls out a fourth shift early next year, despite the challenged of COVID slowing down the process.
Laminex Australia’s Manufacturing Operations Manager for Queensland, Scott Beckett, grew up on the east coast of Canada where he studied chemistry, a diploma of engineering and a pulp and paper degree at university.
He now lives in Gympie and has become an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Gympie Economic Recovery Subgroup.
He worked in the pulp and paper industry for 13 years before finishing off his masters in business in 2003. Three years later he worked in the cement manufacturing business for 10 years.
It was a phone call from a recruiter that prompted Mr Beckett and his wife to move 13,804km from his hometown to Sydney to work as a maintenance engineer and procurement manager for Orora packaging in 2016.
“I got a call from them a few years back but we turned it down because my son was 16 and didn’t want to move and I didn’t want to force them,” he said.
“I lived in Sydney for two years and then my wife and I travelled for four-and-a-half-months around Australia before landing here in Gympie on February 28 (2019).”
Mr Beckett said lifestyle and location were some of the reasons behind the move to Gympie.
“We love the area. We came up to Noosa for a five-day holiday and we just loved it. I remember when we were flying back down from Maroochydore I said ‘it wasn’t going to be the last time I come back,” he said.
“Literally two weeks later Laminex called and said Gympie. Honestly I had never even heard of Gympie but I did find out later we had driven through here in 2015. We found it was close to Noosa, Hervey Bay and Fraser Island and thought it was a great idea.”
Mr Beckett’s key to success is maintaining a healthy lifestyle by going for a run in the morning.
He runs marathons and usually places in the top 10 per cent. Last year he ran the Noosa Half Marathon and Melbourne Marathon. COVID has cancelled the events he planned to compete in this year.
“I’m a very driven individual, driven to be successful for myself and for the people I am working with.”
Mr Beckett has applied for Australian citizenship and hopes to become a fully fledged Aussie next year.
Earlier this year, Laminex revealed its Monkland particleboard production facility would “move from a three-shift to four-shift operation as of January 2021”, less than two years since taking ownership of the plant last April.
A fourth shift will see the plant employ 80 people, up from the 41 it started with after taking over from previous owner Carter Holt Harvey, which closed the site in early 2019.
The company has spent $2 million upgrading the plant’s infrastructure through improvements to roads and buildings, and new equipment.
State Development and Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said in February Laminex’s Toolara facility would receive $559,000 to conduct a feasibility study for an energy cogeneration plant at its Gympie region fibreboard manufacturing facilities.
This list is a subjective talking point, not a scientific guide. We welcome feedback from the public. It is about the 40 most powerful and/or influential people in the Gympie region. How strong and broad is their influence? A special committee of community leaders from various walks of life have voted on who should be on this list and in what order.
Is there someone you think should be on the list? Email your contenders to email@example.com or comment below and tell us why.