Logistics skills are a good fit for the role in the co-op

Royal New Zealand Navy Captain Shaun Fogarty, who served as Canberra-based Defense Adviser for Australia and India last month, is getting used to being a ‘Mr’ in his life again. new role to Alexandra.

He stepped down from that post, his last in an impressive military career, a year earlier to take on the role of managing director of Seasonal Solutions Co-operative (SSC), which supplies seasonal and permanent workers to the horticulture industries. and viticulture.

Mr. Fogarty, in his early 50s, was drawn to the work both for its nature and its location in central Otago.

He and his wife, Felicity, have owned the historic stone cottage for 10 years that was once the Belfast Store under James Hazlett, Dunstan’s second mayor.

“My wife and I have always been passionate about coming here long-term beyond the military,” he said.

The cooperative nature of SSC, which has 65 shareholders, mostly in Otago with a small number in Canterbury and Marlborough, was another draw.

“I love the idea of ​​a co-op and the collective will of a group of growers who really contribute to the prosperity of New Zealand.”

“It’s not about making a big profit, it’s about making sure our shareholders have the right people with the right skills.”

Mr Fogarty was well qualified to lead the co-op, with his academic qualifications including a Masters in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from Massey University and a Masters in Management from the University of Canberra.

He also had a wealth of experience in the Pacific, deployed to Timor Leste to monitor the 1999 independence referendum, and returning there as an operational planner during the 2006 crisis.

He said he was attracted by the CSR system, under which SSC employs 1,140 employees over 12 months.

“I’ve seen the benefits it brings to societies,” he said.

Not only is SSC the employer of these workers, but they take care of their pastoral care.

Lately this has included managing the effects of the Covid-19 Omicron variant on workers.

“We get a steady drumbeat of workers getting Omicron and having to self-isolate in bubbles,” he said.

This was made easier as teams lived and worked in bubbles, and testing was immediate if anyone had symptoms that could be Covid.

As the 2022 vintage harvest intensifies in central Otago vineyards, isolation is another labor issue, alongside a lack of working holiday visa backpackers who would normally available for pick up.

There was great support from locals, Fogarty said, but there were still real shortages.

“It’s a great season in terms of growth, but with the labor shortage, some fruit won’t be picked. »

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