When you were growing up, was being a CEO always part of your career plan?
Of course – I wanted to grow up and become the Managing Director of DEUTZ Australia…just kidding! At high school in Melbourne’s southeast suburbs, I did work experience during school holidays with the local council doing landscaping and park management – that’s where I learned the art of pruning roses. So initially I wanted to get into horticulture and landscaping but that never eventuated. I come from a working-class family and was brought up to work hard, be grateful for what you have and to maintain a high work ethic. Those beliefs have afforded my opportunities to further my career and to continue my learning journey.
What brought you to DEUTZ Australia 10 years ago?
The thought of working for the world’s oldest engine manufacturer sparked interest. The company’s commitment to sustainability and innovation aligned perfectly with my values and I saw immense potential to lead DEUTZ Australia towards a future of cutting-edge technology and global growth.
What was your vision for the business back then?
It was to establish DEUTZ Australia as a leading provider of innovative and sustainable drive systems and power solutions in the Australian market. I wanted to strengthen our presence in industries by focusing on cutting-edge technology, exceptional customer service and a commitment to environmental responsibility.
What have been the key changes you’ve witnessed in the past decade?
Technology has been a focal point, with investments in designing engine complementary packages such as the DEUTZ Drive Power Packs. Another change is eco-friendly power solutions, with the introduction of BESS scheduled for release by the end of 2023. That positions us as industry leaders in sustainability. Industry-wide, there’s growing emphasis on emissions reduction and environmental sustainability.
What have been your proudest achievements within DEUTZ Australia?
One of my proudest achievements is when we receive positive feedback from customers. Hearing how much they love our products and enjoy working with our team is incredibly rewarding.
And what have been some of the biggest challenges in the past 10 years?
One of the key challenges has been competing with larger industry players and increasing our market share. To overcome this we invested significantly in research and development to innovate and offer products that differentiate us in the market. We also focused on building strong relationships with existing customers and we expanded into niche markets. Our commitment to exceptional customer service has also been pivotal.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in your role?
Effective leadership hinges on people, adaptability and a customer-centric focus. You must have a clear vision, a well-crafted strategy and be able to manage risks. Continuous learning, team empowerment, resilience and ethical leadership also matter.
What’s the next big thing for DEUTZ Australia?
That would be the introduction of our battery energy storage systems to Australia and New Zealand. Our systems will enable customers to harness renewable energy sources more effectively, contributing to a greener future, while our low-emission engines align with the growing demand for cleaner and more sustainable technologies. This positions DEUTZ Australia at the forefront of the energy revolution in the region.
Away from work, how do you like to spend your time?
Family is incredibly important to me and I cherish spending time with my two daughters, cat and dog. We enjoy time away together and, for us, caravanning is a great way to explore new places. As a long-suffering St Kilda fan I’m also hoping to see at least one premiership flag in my lifetime – hurry up St Kilda!
Is there something your colleagues don’t know about you, Craig?
As a young man, I once lived in Leongatha and I fondly remember living on a farm and was very excited to learn how to milk cows! I was also a member of the local fire brigade, the CFA, and the State Emergency Service.
How would you like to celebrate your 10-year milestone with your colleagues?
I’d like to express my gratitude to my work family — the incredible DEUTZ Australia team. I want to thank every one of them for their dedication, hard work and commitment. Together, we have achieved remarkable success and I’m confident we can accomplish even greater goals in the future. I’m excited to see where the next decade will take us!