Barry McEwen shared the person behind the badge tonight. He said ...
'As an owner of a Commercial Building Company for over 50 years, I have been through some very hard times, specifically, a number of recessions, the hardest one being in the 1980s, resulted in me packing up and moving to Malaysia with my wife and two young children aged 6 and 4 for a year.
'Between 1988 and 2018 I employed around 35 staff, carrying out the concrete work and earthquake strengthening, on some of Wellington’s major projects, some of which were the old BNZ Building, Circa Theatre, the Defence Building, Queensgate Mall in Lower Hutt and many more. (Some have now been pulled down.)
'In Porirua, we worked on North City Plaza, Spotlight, Whitby Retirement Village and, more recently, Mitre 10, and all are still standing.
'Although this latest Covid-19 lockdown is not a recession is it has the same effect on running a business. Luckily, I now only have five staff. Most of the other staff members worked with me until they retired and, with my help, four apprentices have set up their own business.
'The remaining five staff members have worked for me for more than 30 years, so they all know the ropes. When I tell them "you should be doing it this way", I am told very politely in (onsite construction lingo) to go and have a coffee and read the newspaper.
'So I have done something right.
'Now something outside of work.
'We moved from the Hutt Valley to Plimmerton in 2008 and I joined Rotary in 2017. What attracted me to this club was driving along Grays Road most days and seeing the progress that was being made month after month on Te Ara Piko Pathway. Unfortunately this project was almost complete when I joined so I was not involved, but I became interested in the Rotary planting project at Plimmerton Domain. This would give me something to do and monitor in the years to come. I know very little about plants and swamps, but Bill McAulay has been a great help in guiding me in the right direction. It will a great asset to our City along with other Rotary Projects to look back on.
'A group of my friends like fishing (and a beer or two), so once a year we travel to one of the great locations around to NZ for a fishing charter. We've been to some great spots like the Chathams, Stewart, and D'Urville Island, Fiordland, and around White Island just to name a few.
'My wife, Dinah, and I also like traveling overseas when we can. In addition to many other places around the world, we have been to Bali 26 times, 20 times to the same room in the same hotel. We meet up with the same people year after year. It’s our “home away from home“.
'So life is for living. Enjoy it while you can'.