Rural career winds down

Shawn McAvinue spends five minutes with Gallagher Otago and South Canterbury territory manager Lindsay Whyte, of Wānaka.

Q: I hear you are retiring soon. How long have you worked for Gallagher and when is your final day?

For 21 years, and my final day is Friday next week.

Q: Are you doing anything to celebrate finishing up?

I’m pretty lucky because I’m going to Fieldays and the company are putting on a wee night for me at Sir William and Lady Judi’s [Gallagher] tonight, so that will be really good.

Q: What does your role involve?

About 80% of the role is on farm, teaching farmers how to install and use new gear and doing farm plans with them, and the rest is going around our dealers and ensuring our product is in stock and presented correctly.

Q: What type of products are you selling?

Electric fences, scales, water solutions and pest solutions.

Q: How has the job changed since you started?

There’s been lots of new technology come in in the last 10 years. It used to be an energiser on the wall with a couple of terminals and now you can turn it on and off on your phone and you can set a farm up in six different areas so you know exactly where a fault is.

Q: Have you been serving the same territory since day one?

I was in the Southland region for 11 years before heading to Otago a decade ago. I was born and raised in central Southland and lived in Invercargill before moving to Wānaka.

Q: Was the chance to live in Wānaka a reason for changing territory?

Correct — I was looking forward to retirement and an opportunity came up when our guy in Otago left, so I said I’d do it but I’d like to live in Wānaka, and the company were really good about it.

Q: No doubt you would have seen some stunning country during your career.

I thought Southland was an amazing place to grow grass but when you shift regions and see what irrigation has done — there’s some beautiful country round here all right.

Q: What are your plans for retirement?

To take it easy for a while and then maybe pick up some part-time work — maybe some driving or helping people out. I have a son and daughter-in-law in Alexandra and they have two wee grandies and they stay with us regularly, which is good. My other son lives in Perth, Western Australia and I have a couple of grandkids over there, so the aim is to go over in April and catch up with them.