AFTER working alongside the agricultural sector for the past two decades, newly-appointed Mount Gambier and District Saleyards manager David Wallis can finally hone in on his farming passion.
Mr Wallis started his new role with Grant District Council this week, taking over from outgoing manager Peter Mitchell.
Attending Wednesday’s sale, his first at the helm, Mr Wallis told The Border Watch he grew up on the land with his grandparents and parents, with the new role a chance to explore his agricultural roots.
Mr Wallis said his two older brothers were farmers, both managing properties in the Wattle Range district.
“I also have a younger brother, so being the two younger siblings and the farm not being big enough, we went off and both did trades instead,” he said.
Mr Wallis’ working life as a tradesman has taken him to workplaces including the Kimberly-Clark Australia Millicent Mill and Thompson Drilling.
While employed at the Lake Bonney Windfarm, Mr Wallis also traveled internationally, including developing an intricate wind turbine system.
In recent years Mr Wallis has served as a Wattle Range Council project manager, coordinating and managing council’s operational and capital works projects and also been a passionate club man for Mount Burr United Football Club.
“I guess I am at that age where I thought if I do not enjoy going to work, then why am I doing it,” he said.
“It was something which I have had my toes in the water for the last 25 years and I have wanted to be more a part of.
“I saw this as a real challenge and something I enjoy so a bit of a double whammy really.”
Still familiarising himself with his role, Mr Wallis hoped to draw on past experiences managing projects to plan ways to improve and sustain one of the region’s most prominent assets.
“We have the volume of sales here and we need to not be complacent with how we handle things,” he said.
“We need to make sure farmers see this site as the best avenue for them to sell their stock.”
“After three days, I am still trying to get my head around procedures and how things work and I do not want to make decisions without knowing all the facts.
“But you can see all involved are very proud with what they have here.”
Mr Wallis said he planned to get to know those in the industry.
“A lot of the agents, right down to the canteen lady have all made themselves known,” he said.
“It is pretty friendly environment, but obviously it is going to be a lot of hard work and not all beer and skills.
“I understand the processes and am familiar, but I suppose now I need to understand the finer details behind it all.”