FOUNDER /NON-EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN
A Natural Curiosity
Curiosity. It’s a common thread with engineers, and Romar founder Neil Wilson is no exception.
His natural curiosity sees each day filled with problem solving and the anticipation of success.
Education is everything
Romar has been in business for 50 years. Neil’s dad, Robert, was a toolmaker, but he wanted Neil to go out and learn something worthwhile before joining the family business.
‘I get up in the morning and come to work to solve problems. The reward is seeing things happen. It doesn’t matter if it’s me, or someone else here – I like to see it.
Our motives as engineers are seeing success in the things we take on. We aren’t just driven by the financial aspects of the job, but also by the success and outcomes.’
So he did – returning to the family business in 1977 after a six year cadetship and honours degree in mechanical engineering.
Their partnership made sense.
‘We both realised that my father gave the business life, but my engineering degree meant that I gave the business a future.’
From the ground up
‘Although I came into the business with an academic qualification, I spent three years working on the trade side. After those three years I took over the management of the business and my dad went back to making tools.
We worked together for 30 years which was a very unusual thing.’
Neil’s father Robert came to work every day until he was 80.
‘My father was a visionary and what we did together made him happy and made him proud.’
A work culture to be proud of
There’s a very strong, loyal, family culture at Romar. Neil says the culture of the business starts from the top and the people within Romar are of the same culture. It works well and helps to drive the productive performance of the business.
‘It becomes part of your blood, part of your reason for being.’
Leading the way through Innovation
‘We’ve been very successful over the past 30 years. Through research work in the 80s, I found there was funding available for new projects and innovation. I applied and was successful in getting a grant to design and build a heavy lift capacity robot.’
The ground-breaking technology was successful, more robots were made, and at the conclusion of the project the division was sold off to another company.
And then the awards started to flow. Research and Development grants for rapid tooling, and multi nozzle injection won Romar the Innovation of the Year, and Excellence in Innnovation awards across the country. Both were inducted into the Australian Technology Showcase.
Onwards and Upwards
Mentoring and teaching is what drives Neil today.
‘Seeing the younger people perform to their capabilities and seeing the business benefit from the younger engineers and what they contribute is immensely satisfying.’
New Romar CEO Alan Lipman comes with impressive business and manufacturing experience and has helped cement Romar as a driving force in medical device innovation and silicone technology.
And Neil recognises that value for Romar.
‘Alan is a good people manager with a huge amount of empathy, and he has a high degree of drive, which takes both the business and its people forward.’