John Brockelbank’s PASLR story is about a grassroots as it gets. In October 1996, more than twenty-five years ago, he was the sole pump technician, out in the field doing all the technical work while Darlene Henshaw ran the business from the office – it was just the two of them.

Back then John would field the customers, write quotes, and manage the whole process, now he only has to focus on the technical side of things. “There’s definitely been a major shift in technology and how we deal with it has changed. Previously, we would have to make something to get the job done, now you can buy it off the shelf,” he says. “However, knowing how to interpret what’s going on is still important and the more experience you have the easier and faster it becomes.”

John didn’t necessarily have his sights set on a career in this field. As a biosciences and psychology student at the university, he wasn’t yet aware of his natural flair for finding faults, pulling things apart and fixing them. He left university, joined the army and later found himself in a job he didn’t love. Darlene convinced him to join her (instead of entering the field of zoology and botany) and the rest is history.

“I like dealing with customers, I like the variety of the job, I have a strong ability to be able to fault find and diagnose things – I just love doing that. Customers trust me to go out to a site and do things right, get the job done, and I’ve proven that I’m good at it and I enjoy it. I enjoy the variety of challenges and I really love doing this job,” he says.

Outside of work John still pounds the hockey field. Interestingly enough it was through hockey that he and Darlene connected initially. John took up lacrosse at thirty-six and has represented New Zealand twice at world championships. His focus now is on refereeing, and he was invited to referee at the world championships in Israel in 2018. His lacrosse achievements are what he’s most proud of and travelling the world is a much-treasured bonus.

Tip from the field

“Do it once and do it right – and don’t skimp on things. First, work out what it is you actually need to get done and what is required to do the job properly. It may not necessarily be what you think it is. Ask the right questions, get all the information and make an informed decision,” says John.