I OFTEN described Beverley Steel Fabrication principal Eddie Peart as an Aussie battler.
In its truest sense, it’s an expression of endearment and respect for somebody “having a go”.
He’s not alone, for there are plenty of Aussie battlers almost everywhere you travel in this great country.
And a lot of them are like Eddie – unpretentious, hard-working, intuitive and respectful.
They’re qualities we yearn for the people we vote to represent us in government.
We won’t go there because this is about Eddie, who with his enthusiastic wife Annette has signalled to the kids that “it’s time”.
And the “kids” have responded by agreeing to take up the mantle and become involved in a succession plan that will see the company transition under their management.
While Eddie and Annette will remain directors for the next few years, daughters Jenifer and Renee and son Ben will become more involved under the guidance of their parents and new general manager and former Goodlands farmer Anthony Seymour.
Anthony brings a range of management experience and skills to Beverley Steel Fabrication to continue and sustain the growth and development of the business under the family’s direction.
“Nothing changes,” said Jenifer, who has been working in the company for 15 years.
“It’s business as usual and we remain focused on our strong relationship with our customers.”
Ben is looking forward to the challenge of continuing the product development and making sure that farmer input continues to be a driving focus of the development.
He has seen first-hand during his time in the workshop how important farmer input is to the development of the boomspray.
The end users need the machine to meet their requirements.
“We need farmer input about what emerging technology they want to be able to use so we can keep our product in step with the current farming techniques,’’ he said.
“WA farmers are great at designing new innovative ways of doing old jobs and their input is important for the on-going development of our machines.”
“It’s just a generational change,” Renee said.
“It brings new ideas and new energy.”
That’s already apparent with a makeover of the administration building which has been re-designed into a modern office complex.
The good thing about writing these stories is you find out a little more about a person you’ve known for more than 20 years.
Eddie hails from Mildura in Victoria and Annette is from a farming family in the Riverina district, New South Wales.
The pair came to WA when Eddie was offered a job as a professional shooter “because I went where the work was”.
In 1985, he was in Beverley when the local fabricator shut up shop and Eddie saw an opportunity.
“I was self-taught in all things mechanical and fabricating so I went for it,” he said.
And, as you do, he concreted a shed, mainly by himself, behind his house.
The turning point for the business came in 1993 after local farmer David Adams had won the Best Inventor award at the then Dowerin Machinery Field Days.
His invention was revolutionary – a hydraulic lift and fold boomsprayer.
Up to that stage, most boomsprayers were towed by a ute and manually folded booms were always a hassle moving through narrow farm gates.
It changed the game for broadacre spraying where we now see boom widths out to 48 metres (160ft).
After the field days, David approached Eddie and asked whether he could make the model.
“I didn’t know anything about a boomsprayer but I said yes because I thought I could make one or two a year,” Eddie said.
“Annette agreed, saying we had nothing to lose.
“I made the first one with Dave and did the next few by myself with the help of a workman.
“We called them Hydra Boom because of the hydraulic fold then the name morphed into Beverley Hydra Boom.”
Since then almost a 1000 units have been made and they are popular throughout Australia, because of their reliability, simplicity, ruggedness and re-sale value.
There are 10 models in the range with a flagship 10,000 litre capacity model optioned with a 37m, 45m or 48m boom.
At next week’s Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days, a new 8000L model will be unveiled to supersede the 7000L model.
According to Renee, the succession plan was almost a natural way to go.
“We grew up playing around the sprayers,” she said.
“For all of us the sprayers have been part of our lives and we’re proud of dad and mum and what they have achieved, so there wasn’t much discussion about keeping the business going.
“It just seemed the right thing to do.”
David Adams is still involved on the R&D side and the two mates will again be fixtures at the Beverley Hydra Boom display at field days over the next month, along with Anthony and Rod Lindau.