PROMINENT Warwick businessman and Southern Downs Regional councillor Rod Kelly has celebrated Westpac's 200th birthday this week and his long career with the company by returning to where it all began.
Cr Kelly retired from Westpac in 2015, having climbed to the position of state general manager commercial and agribusiness regional Queensland, after a 40-year career with the company.
His long tenureship with the company began on March 23, 1975.
Cr Kelly said he was working as a barman at the Palace Hotel.
"Dad didn't think that
was a suitable career path for me and urged me to apply for a vacant position at the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac),”
"John Gesler was the manager and he told me I could start the next Monday.”
In late 1975 the building that housed the bank was demolished and a new building was built, which in turn was demolished last year to make way for the Westpac branch in the Rose City Shoppingworld development.
Cr Kelly has the unique honour of having worked in all three buildings.
"When the original building was demolished
we temporarily moved
down to where Bunnings
is now,” he said.
"Then I moved around to a few other branches around the state before transferring back to Warwick in 1978.
"Then this week, Westpac were kind enough to let me work a day in the brand new branch, just so I could say I have worked in all three evolutions of the branch in Warwick.”
Cr Kelly said his retirement gift to Warwick was the new branch built this year.
"As part of the state management team I had a hand in pushing for this state-of-the-art upgrade for Warwick,” he said.
"It's the latest and greatest in branch evolution.
"Of all the ones I've seen, it's the best.
"And we all agreed the new branch had to remain on this spot, where it had been for over 100 years.”
Cr Kelly has worked in Westpac branches all over the state including Blackwater, Mackay, Ipswich, Amberley Air Force Base, Texas and Bundaberg, leading to his first managerial role at a brand new branch in Geebung in 1989.
"Eventually I became an area manager, then a regional executive before climbing up to a senior management position,” Cr Kelly said.
"Things have changed a lot over the years.
"When I was a teller in Warwick, I had a revolver underneath the counter, and would take it up the street if I was carrying cash.”He said his 40 years went very quickly.
"I had the absolute pleasure of meeting thousands of customers and working with thousands of staff members,” he said.
"I watched careers grow and hopefully taught some how to handle adversity and how to have empathy.
"I helped people create wealth and start businesses.
"And I never lost sight of who I was, a lad from Warwick.”
Cr Kelly also went on to thank the current staff at Westpac in Warwick.
"They've made me feel like an elder statesman,” he said.