EastCoast HR Group has approached prominent and everyday Sunny Coasters about their careers. Follow our Friday Feature to find out what inspires those around to go to work every day!
Bob Ansett – Business entrepreneur and best- selling author, founder of Budget Rent a Car.
What was your first job?
My first job was with Standard Oil of California. In 1951 Standard Oil ran a group of Service Stations along the west Coast of California. To get the job I had to be assessed by a senior management committee who reviewed my high school record before offering me the job. Next was an intense weeks training in San Diego. Not only did I learn about Customer Service, but Salesmanship, how to lubricate a vehicle and change tyres. I was then assigned to a 24 hour a day Standard Oil Service Station in Oceanside 60 miles north of San Diego. Managed by a no nonsense former marine sergeant once a car pulled up to the pump blocked, we dropped what we were doing and sprinted to the car. Asking the driver, “May I fill the tank, sir or madam”. While I was doing that another attendant appeared and began cleaning the windows. After the tank was filled I would ask the driver to release the bonnet so I could check the water and oil. If the oil was low or dirty I would show the oil stick to the driver and suggest a change of oil which I would do at the pump block. And so it went! I couldn’t have asked for better training or had a better first up job.
Who are the people that have made the biggest difference in your career and why?
My first Manager at Standard Oil. My father who created Ansett Airlines later to be named Ansett Transport Industries. Serving 3 years in the US Paratroopers exposed me to the skills of Leadership. My Football coach at the University of Utah had a great influence on me, always stressing that “football is no different to life, in both you are going to get knocked down often but don’t dwell on it for its how you get up that matters”. My Dad, started with next to nothing and built a mammoth organisation covering most forms of transport, Hotels, Barrier Reef Islands, and later launched the Channel 10 Television network. He demonstrated over and over that you never stand still in life, you’re either going forward or backwards. I learned from his experiences and used much of this knowledge to build the Budget Car Rental Company ultimately growing to 300 locations in Australia and expanding throughout the Asia Pacific region including Japan, and ultimately the UK. Budget wa the Market Leader in Australia by 1981.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
I have had plenty of advice over the years, like “Never, Never, Never give up”. During the time I was president of the North Melbourne Football Club, I listened to our coach, the famous Ron Barassi, regularly tell the players “That if its to be, its up to me”. Another good one I regularly used was “When you meet triumph remember disasters never far away, but its how you treat these two impostors that matters”. Most importantly over my business career I was regularly encouraged to take calculated risks.
Think back to five years ago. Did you envision your career as it is today?
Since I left the Budget organisation in 1990 I have taken up a few directorships and continue with one, the BETTA Home Living group. I have given hundreds of speeches to business groups and continue to do so in my 86th year. I also spent 6 years working to ensure Noosa regained its Council after it was amalgamated into the Sunshine Coast Regional Council in 2008.
How do you approach work – life balance?
Between my speaking engagements and directorship off the BETTA group that entails a fair amount of travel, I also maintain an interest in how my old football club, North Melbourne is doing, and during the football season I run a tipping competition. Most mornings I start at 5:30 jogging through the Noosa National park from Sunshine Beach to Hastings St, have a swim then meet up with some mates for coffee at Cafe Le Monde. I also play golf twice a week. All this seems to keep me pretty busy and engaged.
What is your proudest moment in your career?
There are a number of achievements that I’m proud of like playing American football in High School, then in the US Army and later at University. Obviously, building a unique Australian and global business called Budget Transport Industries. Saving North Melbourne from relocating to the Gold Coast and of course doing my bit to get Noosa’s Council back.