Breaking the Bias at Alex Fraser
March 7, 2022
This International Women’s Day we celebrate the many talented women behind Alex Fraser, who are ‘breaking the bias’ daily in a range of wide and varied careers.
Here’s to the many female engineers, drivers, project managers, machine operators, pickers, weighbridge attendants, customer service officers, IT leaders, health and safety advisors, sales representatives, administrators and finance officers who make Alex Fraser a diverse, innovative and inclusive place to work.
Here are their stories:
Zoe broke the bias two years ago when she joined Alex Fraser Epping as a Picker. She is responsible for quality control at our Epping Recycling Facility, where she identifies and removes foreign objects from the raw materials before they are recycled into our green roads products, for use in roads and infrastructure.
Before joining Alex Fraser, Zoe worked in aged care, but after taking her dad’s advice to “have a go”, she took on the job and hasn’t looked back.
“Dad used to work here and suggested I try the job out – two years on and I’m still going!”
Zoe says although it’s not the most glamourous work, it’s fulfilling.
“Working in the picker’s hut is hard sometimes, but I feel a sense of accomplishment when I do my job well. It can be a dirty job and you have to be constantly on the lookout for safety hazards, but I really enjoy it.”
She says the team she works with is very supportive, and she enjoys coming to work to see them.
“I love coming to work every day. I like the work I do, and the people I work with are fantastic. Sometimes the manual handling is hard, but my colleagues look out for me and are ready to chip in give me a hand if I need it. I know they’ve got my back, and that’s nice to know.”
Zoe keeps fit and focussed by going to the gym. She loves catching up with friends over dinner or a drink, and enjoys sharing stories about her career in construction with them.
Queensland Driver, Anne joined the team at Nudgee Recycling in 2019. She is the face of Alex Fraser for the many of our customers she delivers recycled products to, in her Mack truck and trailer.
Anne has always been one to ‘break the bias’; growing up on her family’s farm she has been driving heavy vehicles and operating machinery since childhood.
“Once my children were school aged I got my truck licence and began working for other businesses, with my husband. I started off driving a really old ACCO truck, and now I drive a brand new Mack. It’s been nice to see the progression over 30 years.”
She says she enjoys the challenge of going out to different customer’s sites.
“Occasionally you get hard jobs; due to time pressures or difficult delivery locations. Sometimes deliveries can be tricky, but I stop and think it through logically and safely to get the best outcomes. Sometimes it can feel almost impossible, but it feels great when you know you’ve completed a difficult delivery safely and efficiently, and made another happy customer.”
Anne offers some advice to people looking to change careers or those wanting to start driving trucks.
“This isn’t like driving a car – but anyone can do this. You just need to be constantly aware of the size of the vehicle you are driving, and always remain vigilant to the road conditions.”
“If you’re interested but unsure about a job, just try it out. If it isn’t for you, you’ll know – but you might just like it! If you’re struggling, turn to your support people.”
When she’s not behind the wheel, Anne picks up an oar and gets out on her kayak. As a proud grandmother to five grandchildren, Annie is an excellent example of how women can flourish in traditionally male careers.
Megan ‘broke the bias’ last month when she joined Alex Fraser’s Workshop as Workshop Administrator.
As one of only two women working in the Workshop, Meagan says she’s not intimidated working in a male-dominant industry.
“I’ve worked in male-dominant industries for a long time. There are lots of men here, and they’ve all been respectful and pretty kind to me.
“I don’t have a mechanical background, so I’ve got lots of questions and lots to learn. Everyone has been patient with me. They’ve been so generous with their time and knowledge, and there to answer my questions or direct me if I’m unsure.”
Before joining Alex Fraser, Megan was a postie, delivering mail on an electric pushbike. The idea of taking on a new challenge drew her to the role.
“I had been a postie for four years, delivering around Caroline Springs and Deer Park. I knew I needed a change and wanted more responsibility in my life, which is why I applied for this job.”
Megan says she’s been learning a lot in her first few weeks.
“These first few days have been really good, I’ve been learning a lot of new things. Even though there’s a lot more going on than I’m used to, I’m really enjoying it. I’m sure it will get even better for me once I fully understand the bigger picture and get a better feel for the job.”
Megan has a supportive crew around her.
“Deb Santamaria is a wealth of knowledge and I have some really big shoes to fill, so I feel lucky that I’m able to learn from her.”
After a hard day’s work, Megan relaxes with her favourite creature, her cat, while crocheting and teaching herself to knit.
Jody ‘broke the bias’ by signing up for Hanson and Alex Fraser’s Trainee Driver Program in November 2021.
As an experienced charter bus driver, Jody already held her Heavy Rigid (HR) licence. Melbourne’s many lockdowns forced her to seek alternative work, so she joined the program and upgraded to get her Heavy Combination (HC) licence.
She says the Trainee Driver Program was a great introduction to the business.
“I thought the training program was awesome! Our trainer, Alex, was so knowledgeable and I had full confidence that he knew what he was talking about. He was really good at sharing his experience and learnings. I liked how he’d get us out and onto the road and test out the theory we’d learned in the classroom.”
Jody is proud of her achievements in the truck so far.
“My biggest highlight to date is being able to jack knife this beast! Tipping off in a jack knife manoeuvre is tricky. I tried to do it a few times, and when I was finally successful in achieving it, it was a great feeling.”
Jody says her colleagues have been supporting her as she familiarises herself with the recycling sites.
“I’m still getting to know all the products and where they all are. Everyone is really supportive and helpful, they’re directing me while I’m getting to know where everything lives. The loader driver on site helps point me in the right direction too.”
She says she’s enjoying the camaraderie with her colleagues.
“The other truck drivers are good to lean on. We all come in, have a chat before we start our day. If anyone has a problem we can work together to solve it.”
Jody is an avid Essendon supporter and a doting aunt who never misses a game of her niece and nephews’ sports. She’s keen to show them, that they can do anything they put their mind to.
Susanne ‘broke the bias’ and joined Alex Fraser as a Load Inspector, at Laverton Recycling last month.
Susanne says she’s enjoyed her first couple of weeks on the job and has a supportive team around her.
“I’m really grateful for everyone who’s been so welcoming and helped me out. Especially Bec Heaton (Laverton loader operator) who has really looked out for me. The truck drivers are friendly and have introduced themselves as we’ve interacted.”
Susanne returned to the workforce in 2021, and before Alex Fraser she was working a desk job, but the commute across town was too much to manage while raising her family.
“My son and I found it hard to manage the long days while I was working across town. He’s in high school and air cadet; he wants to become a pilot when he finishes school. Taking on this new role is one way I can support him to continue air cadets and achieve his career goals.”
She says she’s enjoying learning the ropes of her role.
“I really wanted to get into truck driving, but when this opportunity came up I knew I couldn’t let it slip.
“As a load inspector I’m one of the only people our customers see and talk to. I need to be able to hit a balance between being friendly and firm with customers, and I need to maintain great attention to detail. Screening is a key part of quality control – you can’t let dodgy loads through.”
“This is so much better than previous retail jobs I’ve held. I was sick of working for peanuts and not being appreciated.”
Susanne gives some advice for those looking for a career change; “If you’re willing to put the work in, learn something new and do some overtime, it really can pay off.”