Chris Gilbert’s family has been involved in the transport industry for over a hundred years, ever since great grandfather Caleb started using a horse and cart to transport wattle bark in South Australia.
However, Chris didn’t head straight into the family business himself. A panel beater by trade, he has also worked as an earthmover, underground coal miner and safety representative for the CFMEU in Queensland before deciding to make the move to Darwin. Chris began working as a delivery driver for Gilbert’s, then, after obtaining his road train licence, started doing Katherine change overs and Kununurra on weekends. Following the retirement of the former manager, Chris has taken up the position and is now manager of Gilbert’s Transport Services.
As a company with such lengthy history in the industry, Gilbert’s has made its name and enjoyed continual success by delivering a reliable and personal customer service. A recent expansion has seen them grow after 40 years running in the Northern Territory from South Australia to four 2-up teams to meet the growing customer demand.
“I think we are different to some other transport companies as we are a family owned and operated company; from Dad and Lorraine at the top, Kathy (sister) office manager, Phillip (brother) operations manager, Mark (brother) just coming off the road after 10 years doing Adelaide – Darwin runs now based in Adelaide and Alex (nephew) is 2 IC in the workshop.
Customers are happy to deal with family businesses. We are always contactable and get to the bottom of any concerns they may raise,” he said. “We offer a reliable, friendly, customer-focused business and our equipment is maintained to a high standard which is a credit to all our employees and staff.”
The business relies on good communication. The drivers are, as Chris’ father Peter says, “the face of the business” who deal directly with customers on a daily basis and Chris regularly receives positive feedback from satisfied customers.
“No matter the amount of freight a customer has, be it one carton or a full trailer load, it is all important to them and they need to be respected and treated the same,” said Chris.
“One thing that I always remember is a saying my grandpa had: ‘In life, it is nice to be important but more so, it’s important to be nice’.”
In 2015, Chris is looking forward to spending time with his new partner Kimberley and children Ronald (17) and Nikita (15) while also getting some fishing and crabbing in.
Chris believes no matter what industry you are in, if you provide a good and reliable service, your business will succeed. “It’s not a new philosophy but one that will definitely work and is proven.”
6 McCarthy Close Wishart NT 0822 • (08) 8947 0835