Victorian Branch Manager Vic Cocks has decided that the time has come for him to retire and hand the branch over to a new, younger manager. According to Vic, “the next stage for Temperzone needs young forward thinkers, not a 70 year old thinking about how he used to do things 20 years ago.”

Vic was appointed as Victorian Branch Manager just over 21 years ago by Les Kendall and Alan Channells, but has been involved in the air conditioning industry for almost 38 years. When Vic first joined the company, it was known then as Bradway Engineering.

Vic recalls that, “when I first started with Temperzone, we had a small office of 4 people turning over a very small amount each year. Over the years we have grown to 11 or 12 people working here now and we have shown a steady 15% growth each year (on average). We now have a large prestigious office with a warehouse, which has been the third or fourth move we have had to make to keep pace with our growth.”

“Things were very tight here in those first few years. But even though we’ve been through recessions and very close to depressions, Melbourne really hasn’t felt it. We’ve enjoyed a very steady growth and I think a lot of that is due to the staff. We’ve been very lucky in Melbourne, we’ve retained our core staff for probably a period of 15 years with Narelle Leaver, Ken Dalgleish and Peter Brannan. We have that experience and longevity which is important and I think it’s been a major part of our success.”

As you speak to Vic, you can’t help but notice the pride he feels for Temperzone as a company, and the respect he has for the staff who have been with him so long and helped him create such a strong business in Victoria.

When asked what he thinks has changed the most over the years, Vic responded immediately with “Technology. We’ve come from using the old telex machine to faxes, then emails and mobile phones. Things have changed so that you can do things so much more efficiently and productively now. We used to hand deliver quotes. People would ring up for a quote in the morning and want it that afternoon, which you can do now easily by email. But then we used to spend the morning typing up half a dozen quotes and then spend the afternoon delivering them by hand. Even over the last 12 months things have changed quite dramatically for Temperzone.”

“I’ve grown with the company, I’ve gone from being one of the guys where we all bogged in and did everyone else’s job to a situation now where it’s become pure administration and management. The job has changed a lot over that period of time.”

“As far as the industry is concerned, it’s become much more sophisticated and more demanding – there are certainly a lot more demands on people now than when I first started.”

When asked about the first big air condition unit deal he made, Vic remembers, “one of the big successes early in the piece, probably within the first 12 months, was signing a contract with Shell. We supplied Temperzone units exclusively to Shell Service Stations (now Coles Express). Times were pretty tough then and we jagged that first order for about a million dollars’ worth of equipment for Shell. And it’s a relationship that was lasted from day one. A lot of different people have changed throughout the years from Shell, but I am still handling the account today.”

Staying with the same company for 21 years says as much about the company as it does about the individual. Vic told us that, “I like the attitude that they let me do my own thing. They gave me that latitude to accept responsibility for the branch myself and do what I felt needed to generate more business through the branch. Whether I succeeded or failed was in my own hands, fortunately we were successful.”

“The success of the company over the years has been built on service and generating relationships within the industry. We went out and did things to generate relationships like hold functions. One time we took a group of contractors out Go-kart riding. For 12-14 years I held an annual tram car ride on the tram car restaurant. We held river boat functions – with 100 or so people out on Yarra river boat cruises. When I leave the company there will be a core group of people I’ll stay in touch with. People I have developed more than just a business relationship with.”

Basically my philosophy from day one has been that the first thing you’ve got to sell is yourself, not the product. If you can sell yourself so that people like Vic Cocks, then you’ll get business from them. If the staff like Vic Cocks, you’ll be able to get the best out of them. I like to think that I can sell myself. Show people that I am a likeable character - lets work together and we might have a bit of fun on the way through.”

In terms of what he plans to do once he in retired, he’s still working on that. “I plan to get into golf, I studied Italian a number of years ago and have enrolled to go back to Italian classes. I’d also really like to do more overseas travel. I’m still planning what I’m going to do with my time but I certainly don’t intend to sit around waiting for things to happen.” We also have it on good authority that Vic won’t be one of the silver nomads driving around in a massive 4wd (It's a standard joke with his Industry friends that 4wd vehicles always seem to get in his way and he cannot see around them)!

Good Luck Vic, we all hope you enjoy your retirement!

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