Pepe's People

john-houston

John Houston

CEO OF PEPE'S DUCKS

"I am hugely proud to say I have worked alongside Pepe since 1997, starting out as General Manager and working my way up to CEO.

It was an industry very much at its birth when I began and I saw a great opportunity to become a part of its future. Knowing Pepe's background, his focus on quality and his passion, I believed I was in the right company to foster this industry.

Since joining the business there have been many milestones. I've seen the business grow immensely - when I started we were producing about 28,000 ducks a week, now we're producing 80,000. That in itself is a great achievement. The demand for duck continues to increase, so the industry and the company have a huge future as we see duck migrate into many restaurants and family homes.

My role here at Pepe's as CEO is extremely varied. I've been very much focused on meeting growth in the market and growth of the operation sector. We have today, for a business of our size, probably one of the most modern plants in the world, which is incredible for a family company.

We are also proud to have a World Standard operation on our Pepe's farms. The continued development of the duck itself in terms of things like husbandry, biosecurity, and meeting all the food standards that's required have been huge milestones for our business and the industry.

Being part of a team of people who continue to strive every day to serve our customers with the best quality and the best service gives me a great sense of pride.

Joining Pepe's is something I've never regretted, it's something I've enjoyed all the way through. The growth of the business and the growth of the industry has given me a great deal of pleasure and a great sense of responsibility, as well as a great sense of achievement."

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david-fox

David Fox

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

"Agriculture and the poultry industry has always been a passion of mine. I studied agricultural economics at university so when this role at Pepe's came up I jumped at the opportunity. It was a role role where I could see my future; I could see a company with enormous growth potential.

The job is very diverse and no two days are the same. My role involves looking after all the finances of the group - from the account side to the HR and the payroll, a position I've been with in the company since 2001. My biggest achievement in that time has been condensing five subsystems into one main system, which has enabled better control and efficiency of the company.

"Seeing the growth of the business from when I started here makes me very proud to be a part of Pepe's and the future of Pepe's is only going to grow."

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Gary McLachlan

Gary McLachlan

BREEDER AND HATCHERY MANAGER

"My role at Pepe's entails looking after the breeder farms which produce fertile eggs - those eggs are sent to the hatcheries, where they're hatched and produce the day olds. We have four breeder farms and two hatcheries, all in NSW.

I've been working with Pepe's now since 2003. I knew the duck industry was fairly young in Australia when I began, there were only one or two major players so not a huge amount of competition. In that sense, I could see it had a bright and exciting future ahead of it.

I've had many proud moments during my time here, one of which included breeding stock from France. I liaised with the French parent breeder company and organised the import and clearance through the Australian quarantine service, allowing us to bring a different type of bird to Australian consumers."

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brian-caldwell

Brian Calderwood

QUALITY ASSURANCE MANAGER

"My role at Pepe's involves looking after the quality assurance manuals, from the hatchery through to the breeder farms and on to processing plant.

Since starting my career here at Pepe's in 2008, I've implemented the quality systems across the breeder farms and hatcheries, as well as working with the new standards that have come out. The processing plant keeps growing on a daily basis and there is still a lot of work for us to do.

The market is expanding and Pepe's needs to grow with that market. In order to do that we just need to keep expanding, building new hatcheries and processing plants and it will be my job to maintain the quality assurance aspect of these operations to ensure the quality isn't compromised as we grow.

I can see my role starting to expand in the field and on the farms. It's an exciting time for Pepe's and I love what I do here – there's never a dull day!"

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mario-bonaccordo

Mario Bonaccordo

OPERATIONS MANAGER

"My father has achieved so much since founding Pepe's Ducks all those years ago, and I am so happy to now be a part of that with him. I grew up on the farms, I went with my dad to see customers at the weekends and spent a lot of time with my brother Peter making boxes - that was one of my first jobs during my holidays.

My job as Operations Manager now involves anything to do with the business in terms of operation. It makes me proud as anything to work with my dad and keep it operating as a family business.

I started working with my dad straight out of school, in 1993, having always wanted to follow in my father's footsteps. But dad definitely didn't make it easy! I worked my way right through each area, from the farm to factory work.

There's been a whole host of proud moments for me and my father. He's built this company on service and quality and it's my responsibility to continue that. Having your name out there, and people acknowledging that name, is an incredible thing.

I've been fortunate enough to travel all over the world for research, looking at the latest duck processing technology and farms. Most of the equipment that we have here in the factory comes from overseas.

Our breeds come from overseas as well – France and the UK - we go over there where they train and teach us how to breed and care for them.

Now we're looking to the future and I couldn't be more excited. We have some big projects ahead. Supplying Australia wide comfortably is our goal. I want to be the number one duck producer and the number one for quality in Australia."

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Peter Brown

Peter Brown

FARMING MANAGER FOR THE GROWER DUCKS

"No day is ever the same in my role as Farming Manager for the Grower Ducks. I've been with Pepe's since 2004, it's a business that is growing and the demand for the product continues to increase. The challenges associated with production and meeting the market needs make this a very rewarding job."

"My job involves managing the mixture of independent growers and company operated farms that produce the day-old ducklings."

"Day-to-day I visit the farms to ensure the farmers are growing the birds in line with the procedures and the standards required. I tend to any issues that may arise with flock health, processing and liaise with regulation from the government and other bodies associated with the duck industry."

"I've never been happier in a role than I am at Pepe's and I'm very much looking forward to what the future brings."

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Craig Baldwin

Craig Baldwin

PRODUCTION MANAGER

"My role as Production Manager for Pepe's Ducks involves managing the entire production procedure - from the time the duck arrives at the processing plant to the end product leaving the factory, as well as planning the collection of the ducks each day from our farms.

Every day, when we fill the orders, I feel such a great sense of achievement. Meeting such high numbers is a huge team effort. A team that consists of four supervisors, three trainers and between 60 and 70 workers all based in the processing plant.

When I started out at Pepe's in 2001, a big day for us would have been producing around 8,000 ducks in one day. Now we've doubled our production numbers to over 16,000. Something I'm extremely proud of that we have achieved.

I can only see Pepe's growing, and maintaining its position as the leading duck producer in Australia."

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