Desmond ‘Des’ Ind started working at K&S Freighters more than 55 years ago. Des’ passion, loyalty and drive tied with experience has been immensely valuable for K&S Corporation. At the age of 80, Des continues to work with us, imparting great knowledge and providing guidance to many existing and new employees. When asked what has kept him going all these years and why he has stayed so long, Des, without hesitation said, “why NOT stay this long?”.
“Seeing the industry change from when I was a mechanic and the challenges in this industry have kept me going till this day.”
Born in Mount Gambier on 8th October 1938, Des started his Truck Mechanic Apprenticeship at the age of 14. At 18 years, Des was one of six boys selected from Mt Gambier for National Services, something he values dearly until today. Des met his wife of 58 years, Barbara Cooper soon after his return from the Nationals, tying the knot on 1st April 1961. It wasn’t much later when Des was hired by Aub Shelton as a Mechanic at K&S (Kain & Shelton at the time) on 26th April 1964. In the early days Des received a lot of support from Aub Shelton, who he looked up to as a second father.
“There must have been 300-400 people when I started and now there are close to 3,000.”
During his 55-year career, Des has held several positions from Apprentice Mechanic to Qualified Mechanic, then Leading Hand, Workshop Foreman, Workshop Service Manager, National Maintenance Manager and is currently the National Equipment Sales Manager. But Des sees his job description as “I turn the lights on in the morning, and I turn them off at night – and I do a few jobs in-between”. A lot has changed since he first started his career with K&S Corporation. From working with Aub Shelton, to Allan Scott and Legh Winser, Des has seen a large number of changes in the organisation, including the transition from a private company to public. The biggest challenge Des faced in his career was in 1966, when the company replaced petrol driven trucks to diesel and the training that it involved. Then again, challenges are exactly what has kept him going for 55 years. The number one reason for Des’ job satisfaction has been the challenges that come with the industry.
“Going public was one of the best moves by Allan Scott.”
Knowing that he has trained people for the industry through hiring successful apprentices has increased Des’ job satisfaction, along with being given opportunities to take on responsibilities and trusted to find solutions during drawbacks. When asked what his most memorable K&S moment was, Des replied “working with Legh Winser”, who was Managing Director at K&S for 14 years.
“Being able to get out of bed at 5am and working long hours is something that I am proud of.”
The comradery of workers has always made K&S feel like home for Des. He believes that the K&S people are what makes the company a great place to work. Along with remaining innovative, Des hopes that the K&S key values of people and safety will always remain to be an integral part of the company.
Advice from Des for those who have just started their career at K&S:
“Have dedication to your position and don’t walk away from a problem, because everything will sort out in the long run. Don’t quit!”
“If the wheels aren’t turning, you’re not earning.”
What’s more is that Des has also been an active Boy Scout since 1950 and is a ‘Lifetime Scout’, contributing not only financially, but by sacrificing his time and effort over almost 70 years. What a remarkable commitment! Des has been happily married to Barbara for 58 years, with three children, 5 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Des plans to retire on 26th April…
…but he won’t tell us which year.