A few weeks back, Chris Obrien proudly passed a significant career milestone: twenty productive years’ working at AllightSykes. And in direct reflection of the high-esteem in which he’s regarded by management and staff alike, many of his long-term colleagues were quick to share their professional respect.
Like Jason Davidson, who’s worked closely with Chris for many of those 20 years. Jason was very pleased to tell us that “Chris always does his very best for our company - ready and willing to support the customers and his co-workers, he’s the original team player”.
When asked for any personal recollections about Chris, Jason can remember Chris “telling me about one particular helicopter flight over the jungles of an Indonesian island – I’m sure one of the big Aussie engineering firms was the customer”.
Now we all know that Chris is extremely well-organised and always focused on safety, but it seems this newly-minted chopper pilot was flying by the seat of his pants. “After they took off the pilot turned mid-flight and asked Chris for directions to the next mine site!!…. then he commented that he hoped it’s close as they were nearly out of fuel” laughed Jason.
Chris is also known for his famously calm disposition in the face of Karaoke machines.
“Chris is good chap all round – one of the best” said Peter Breen “but judging from his eagerness to grab a microphone and belt out a tune without prompting I think maybe in another life he was a singer on the stage”.
He’s a good egg, so we poached him.
For sixteen years, until 1998, Chris worked at John Crane Mechanical Seals. Over the course of the 90’s, he gained a reputation as an expert in pumps and seals, with Sykes Pumps one of his top customers. Over time, the management team at Sykes realised that his unique skill-set, level-headed approach and natural talent would be better suited working for us.
“Back then it was called Sykes Pumps Australia and they were my main customer – it was March 1998 when I was offered a position with them. After 16 years, it was a difficult decision to leave John Crane but history shows it was the right move” reminisced Chris.
Starting with Sykes as a Sales Engineer he covered a large region from Gosford to the Queensland border and out West to Broken Hill. “In those days we sold Sykes Pumps, plus a range of other pump brands – even portable Traffic Lights and Portable Electronic Signs” he remembered.
“After just the first year, I won the Outstanding Sales Achievement Award for Top Sales Performance in 1999 - I was rewarded with an around-the-world trip for two weeks to visit our overseas suppliers and customers” he remembered proudly.
Clearly, Chris was a man on a mission, and in 2000 his efforts were recognised once again when he “was offered the position as Group Product Manager which I was very pleased to accept”. When the amalgamation between Allight and Sykes took place in 2010, Product Managers were designated to specialise in each product group, so he became Product Brand & Strategy Manager – Water.
In recent years, to reflect his vast experience with all things pumps, the role was renamed to create an even sharper focus “and I became Product Specialist - Pumps” he said proudly.
Gary Watson, EGM Operations, explained that “It was in recognition of Chris’s experienced skills that we developed the role of product specialist, not only to ensure everyone would continue to know who to turn to for technical advice and direction, but also so that his valuable insight and experience is imparted onto the next generation”.
Working from the AllightSykes manufacturing facility in Cardiff NSW, and always ready to travel to any location where a client needs him, Chris is available to provide direct customer feedback to the AllightSykes pump manufacturing and pump sales teams. With many years’ experience in the manufacture and sales of heavy-duty industrial pumps, together with his close working relationships with many of our key customers – the expertise of Chris Obrien is integral to the ability of AllightSykes to tailor de-watering solutions and expertly match client expectations.
Congratulations Chris from all of us. Here’s to many more successful years with AllightSykes.