Although Nova Cranes has been a part of Palfinger Australia since 2018, Michelle Pepperall’s memories go back to a time when the business was owned by Glenn Gaynor and there were only four staff members, including herself.
“My opportunity for employment came as a result of the previous administrator throwing fruit at Glenn in a moment of anger, which was not a good career move. With the previous administrators mother acting as my referee, I was successful in securing the job, and even though I thought it would be temporary the rest, as they say, is history,” said Ms. Pepperall.
As time progressed, Ms. Pepperall became an integral part of the operations and administration team completing business management qualifications at TAFE. NOVA Cranes developed as a business, staff numbers grew, and within two years the business moved to a new and larger facility at Sandgate.
Palfingers’ Marc Pisani had been working in the same small rented building in Wallsend and his son was the workshop apprentice. Pisani also moved the Palfinger office to the new location and initially worked in the upstairs room with Ms. Pepperall and the NOVA team downstairs.
NOVA’s move provided more opportunities for the business and transport hydraulics services was added, with Adam Sanderson, a year after the move. Alterations to the buildings and yard provided opportunities to service customers, across a range of products in a modern environment, and helped develop the professional image of NOVA Crane Services.
- Lifting innovation wins CICA award
- Self-erecting crane helps renovate resting place of Mona Lisa
- CICA Queensland’s innovation will benefit many
“Relationships were built with customers and suppliers and the business grew,” said Ms Pepperall.
“Good people are key to doing well and, over time, we developed long term business friendships with the staff at Palfinger including people like Marc, Steve, Jan, Peter, Heather, Herbert as well as the spare parts team. We also developed partnerships with suppliers and customers over time. Businesses like Mega Pacific and long-term customers like Tom Lawler and Paul Harrison still trade with NOVA today,” she said.
Over the years, the business continued to develop, Ms. Pepperall’s responsibilities evolved and she took a greater involvement in business decisions as well as managing the increased volume of work. ‘Change management’ was also a key role which saw her oversee the gradual implementations of technology in the business. This saw a move away from paper-based invoicing to email, the introduction of web banking and the overall increase of business efficiencies due to technology.
“Probably the biggest change came when NOVA became part of Palfinger Australia. It’s really good being part of the Palfinger team and having worked alongside them for so many years, it has felt like a very natural transition,” said Ms. Pepperall.
Reflecting on her 20 years, she spoke about the benefits realised as a result of working at NOVA Cranes, and now Palfinger.
“As I see it, there have been three main benefits from my 20 years with the business. My career has provided me with stability, flexibility and a strong a work/life balance. My work enables me to spend quality time with family and friends, my home life is simple, in a great location near the beach, and I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world extensively experiencing many amazing locations,” she said.
Anyone who knows Ms. Pepperall is aware of her passion for fitness and competing in long course triathlons at a world class level. In 2019 she qualified for the World Championships 70.3 Triathlon in Nice, France. She’s also competed in triathlons in Germany and Malaysia and events all over Australia.
NOVA Crane Services was able to able to surprise Ms. Pepperall on her anniversary with congratulations coming from many, including Marc Pisani and Glenn Gaynor. Palfingers’ Scott Patterson and Glenn Stapleton thanked her for her commitment and contribution to the business.
“Congratulations on a great 20 years Michelle, an achievement made through hard work and determination and an ability to adjust and never give up. No wonder you are so successful in triathlons. Well done and we wish you many more years to come,” they said.