BUILDING successful relationships was deemed as core to the success of South East independent livestock agency Pinkerton, Palm, Hamlyn and Steen as it celebrated its quarter century.
Peter Pinkerton and Robin Steen (Pinkerton & Steen) and Glen Hamlyn and Michael Palm (Hamlyn & Palm) were already operating independently in a tough climate in 1994, yet saw the benefit in amalgamating their complementary skills and values to form Pinkerton, Palm, Hamlyn and Steen as joint directors.
Despite some early naysayers, they have not only survived, but also grown exponentially, having been the leading livestock agency at Naracoorte for both sheep and cattle for well over a decade.
This achievement was recognised in grand style earlier this month at the Adelaide Convention Centre when about 800 guests joined the original directors and staff to celebrate this very significant milestone.
The four original directors addressed the crowd; Peter Pinkerton speaking on the company's foundation, Glen Hamlyn on the first decade or so, Robin Steen on the company's expansion, and Michael Palm on the people, both within and associated with PPHS across those 25 years.
MC for the evening was Richard Harvie, who joined PPHS at its foundation.
"Some agencies have clients, but at PPHS we have friends we do business with," he said.
PPHS has further expanded from livestock into rural and residential real estate in Naracoorte and Penola.
Besides celebrating the company's Silver Anniversary, the evening also saw the announcement of refreshing, including new branding, which will be in place before the end of this financial year.
"It has grown much much more than we could ever have imagined when we started," Mr Steen said.
PPHS has 15 full-time and active livestock agents and nine real estate and office staff employed directly under its banner, plus the associated agencies it has helped set up and back financially.
Through the past 25 years PPHS has not only grown to its present size and structure, but has also backed the setting up of like-minded and successful associated agencies; initially with Chay & Merrett up to 2015 (now as John Chay & Co and Merrett Livestock), plus Spence Dix & Co, which celebrated its first decade of service last autumn.
Mr Steen said the recruitment of the "right people" helped the company grow.
All staff were sincerely thanked by all four directors, but special acknowledgement was reserved for MC Richard Harvie and Jason Mahney who joined at the foundation, the late Barry Bates, who joined very early on, and Sue Smith, who has worked the administration side of the business in the main office for 20 years.
Administrative staff are extremely important, a point Michael Palm also acknowledged in his address.
"If you want pressure there it is; they do it so well," he said.
"Without them keeping it all together and tying up the loose ends, the outside staff would simply be no good."
The company has also expanded into a real estate office in Penola, while Mallee livestock producers were "now getting the service they deserve", Mr Steen said.
"Sometimes cherries just fall off trees," he said about the staff.
"These guys live and breathe this industry; they have true passion and that's why they are successful."
During the 25 years, besides the growth and recruitment of top staff, three of the original directors have 'retired' - Peter Pinkerton in 2007, although he continued as a commission agent before moving to Adelaide; Glen Hamlyn in 2015 and Michael Palm in 2018.
Mr Palm extended thanks to the many associated businesses that have supplied and serviced the company, and particularly the National Australia Bank and the South East Motor Company, plus the all-important family members, "who have given unwavering support behind the scenes, often acting as single parents because of absent fathers; such is the nature of the livestock agency business".
But the greatest praise and thanks was extended to the many producers among the guests in the room.
"You people are the reason we're here," Mr Harvie said.
"Credit goes to you all, great livestock producers who produce wonderful livestock.
"Most of you have ridden out the lows in the industry, and there have been plenty to remember, to enjoy the highs we are seeing today."
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