RAY Gillingham has seen plenty of changes during his 50 year working stint at Timboon Motors.
Starting as a fresh-faced 17 year-old in December 1969, Mr Gillingham notched up his 50th year of service at the end of 2019.
He remembers starting in a little old building in spare parts, a different position to the one he originally wanted.
“I actually wanted to be a mechanic but I didn’t get a mechanic position,” Mr Gillingham said.
“In those days you just wanted to get a job so you just took it and it was still a job in the automotive industry.”
Mr Gillingham spent 12 years in spare parts before he moved into the sales department in 1981.
He sold his first car, a VH Commodore, to John Arundell, who remains a client of Timboon Motors to this day.
His first sale has been followed by numerous more over the years, with Mr Gillingham remaining in his position to this day.
“It’s obviously a different set-up but I enjoy it,” he said.
“I like dealing with people so it was only a different set-up and you have different objectives I suppose.”
Over the years, Mr Gillingham’s client base has also grown and changed with the times as have the facilities.
“I suppose clientele in those (early) days we had the settlement area that came in and you also had everyone coming in from the bowls club and golf club,” he said.
“I remember you would have six or seven cars in for a service each day and you would be running people back and forth but that’s changed a fair bit over time.
“The facilities have improved, they’re just so much better than what we operated out of before.
“We used to only have room for one car in the showroom and it used to have a big wooden door that you had to slide across every morning.”
Testament to his service, Mr Gillingham’s office wall is covered in awards as recognition for his excellent service and sales prowess over the years to Holden.
He has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the company, with Mr Gillingham also venturing to the Singapore Grand Prix and completing extreme car driving in the Flinders Ranges through the car-making giant.
Timboon Motors celebrated Mr Gillingham’s 50th year with a special lunch at Lake Purrumbete’s Lake Edge café with dealer principal Barry Cook and a commemorative cake with the rest of the day at the showroom.
Mr Gillingham said he was pleased to share the occasion with the people he sees everyday, thanking them for their support over the past 50 years.
“I suppose I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love the place so at the end of the day it’s been a pleasure working with staff and clients over the years,” he said.
“I haven’t had any issues with being here and Barry and Ashley (Cook) look after the staff really well. They’re good employers.”
Mr Cook said the business was rapt to have a salesman of Mr Gillingham’s calibre within their business.
“Ray’s been a well respected salesman and member of our business,” he said.
“He’s won several awards with Holden for excellence and he is respected by all of the customers.
“We’re extremely lucky to have him with us.”