I've personally been running Powatone Exhaust Centre since 2010, but Powatone has been around for a lot longer than that, it's been around since 1973 to be exact. Back then my Grandfather William, "Bill" was running the show and my father Ian was the manager. It was a niche business and throughout the 70's and particularly in the 80's Powatone's business was booming! They were the local exhaust parts supplier for the whole Canberra and Queanbeyan area, supplying exhaust parts to all of the mechanical workshops. I remember being very young riding shotgun with Dad on delivery runs in the old Hilux work ute. I grew up spending a lot of time at Powatone, always fascinated by what was going on as a young kid. I leant to mig weld when I was 13 years old, one day at the workshop I was welding up one of my projects and Rodney walked over to me and grumbled "has anyone taught you how to weld", I told him no and he gave me some fundamental tips I still use today. There were other times that Raff and Neilo would tell me off and show or tell me how to do something properly and I was constantly making things and welding them up ever since. For a short stint when I was 15 I had an idea to make air rifle and rim-fire swinging targets and sell them. I made up my own business logo on Paint and I had a school friend at the time actually begin to build an online store as well.
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In total all of the plasma cutting, die grinding of the animal targets, preparation, welding and painting must have taken me at least 4 or 5 hours for each set of swinging targets and I sold my first one for $100. That was the first thing I made, welded up and sold. I made five or six swinging target sets, sold all of them over a 12 month period and came to the conclusion that there was too much time involved in making the targets for what I was charging and decided to stop. I wonder if they're still being used today?
At Powatone's peak in the 80's there were 10 employees working out of the workshop/warehouse on Collie Street in Fyshwick. The building it's self was massive, 1500 square metres, half the space had 4 hoists and an outside truck hoist, the other half was warehousing where parts would be delivered to and picked up from.
Throughout the late 90's and early 2000's I spent a lot of time at Powatone, A few of my assignments and projects for primary and high school were made and welded up there. After College I worked as an apprentice chef for a few years, I enjoyed it and I was nearly signed off as qualified when an unfortunate set of injuries forced me to change my career path. Without many options I started working at Powatone in 2008 starting with light duties, clerical work and customer service. Initially it was only meant to be a temporary job while I recovered, but I really enjoyed it and decided to stay on. Two years later in 2010 an odd turn of events had me take over the business and the rest is history, It would not be possible with out a few key people who helped me along the way, to them if they're reading this, thank you.