Growing up on a farm in regional Queensland, Murray was a keen footballer at school and at 16 years old he was determined to find work locally to set himself up for the future. What he didn’t realise when entering the beef processing industry was that it would take him around the world, and into a position where he would be managing operations across Northern Australia, with a company supplying to 48 different countries.
Entering the workforce as a casual employee, Murray soon became QA / Foreman and permanently employed as a QA Officer. This role was particularly important because the organisation and industry is heavily audited and regulated to ensure animal welfare. Customers such as McDonalds and Aldi, for example, have stringent quality assurance systems and processes, in addition to complying to the industry-wide British Retail Consortium (BRC) Audits.
Rising up the ranks, Murray was surprised to learn; “They don’t waste anything. The hides become leather, meat into food, non-eatables into potting mix, stock feed and fertiliser for example.”
The supportive work culture motivated Murray to keep going and to improve his skills and knowledge. The plants at Beaudesert and Dinmore were processing around 1,200 head of cattle per day, so it was no small operation.
Recognised by senior leadership, Murray was offered leadership training and further education opportunities. He completed a Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Meat Processing, as part of a promotion to become a Trainee Shift Manager. This led Murray into his next role - Plant Manager of one of the biggest food processing plants in the southern hemisphere. Overseeing approximately 2,000 employees and 3 shifts per week, he has come a long way from where he started after finishing high school.
Murray reflects on his life and career so far in meat manufacturing:
“I am part of a big team and the skills we gain are transferable - we can relocate and still stay with the company at JBS. I’ve travelled multiple times to many countries (America, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, New Zealand and throughout Australia) all with my work."
“When you look inside the business, it’s a little city."
“There are electricians, fitters and turners, boiler drivers, refrigeration mechanics, IT experts, supervisory staff, HR, trainers and assessors, labours, accounts people, laundry workers, engineers, sales and marketing, shipping and documentation, and managers."
“There’s a job to suit just about everyone.”