February this year marked a milestone in the company for our Operations manager, Alex Thomas – 20 years of service with Campbell Scientific Australia. To celebrate this occasion, we asked Alex to reflect a little on his time at CSA. 

Back in February 1996, the world was a different place.

The “world wide web” was only a couple of years old and not many people had heard of it, with even less having an “email” account. Intel’s new Pentium chip was all the rage and in those days if you went away on holiday you would come back with a bunch of 35mm films which you would need to develop. Oh and by the way, back then mobile phones had one function - to make calls when you were on the move.

I was a newly minted engineering graduate with lots of energy and an eagerness to learn (but no experience) and Campbell Scientific Australia was a new fledgling branch of the global Campbell Scientific group with no money – it was a match made in heaven.

I was hired by CSA as a design engineer and so I was immediately put to work as an application engineer/repair technician with a view to one day designing a product or two. When we realised that the internet was a good idea and that we should embrace it, I added the role of IT services to get our small group of PC’s networked and get us “online”.

Later, when I showed some flair for speaking in front of people, my role was expanded to include customer training. Along the way we also designed some products such as the HydroSense, DataView and their successors.

When our organisational needs increased I started managing a small team and I took on the job of finding and implementing a company-wide ERP system to help track all of our quotes, orders, invoices and work orders. In more recent times, my role has expanded to that of operations manager since I have an understanding of all of our different business functions and can identify with the problems faced by each of our team.

I may have started with this company with no experience, but in 20 years I certainly have been exposed to a great variety of different tasks, tricky measurement puzzles and a wonderful group of people. I have learned many skills that I never would have expected, sometimes under a great deal of pressure, but as a lifelong learner I have loved it.  I look forward to what’s coming in the future - it looks like we’re in for a great ride.


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