In Memory of Robin | Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative General Manager of Finance
Written by Past CEO and longtime friend, Wayne Hosking
It’s hard to believe that Robin Judd, one of our longest-serving and universally loved workmates has been taken from us. Robin passed away suddenly on March 3rd, aged just 63, after 26 years of service at GFC. But exactly who was the real Robin Judd? It’s hard to pin him down…
Far from the stereotypical accountant, Robin was an adventurer, something he quietly and unassumingly maintained throughout his life. His travelling adventures were only revealed to his workmates gradually, over the decades: Motorcycling across the Himalayas, riding a pushbike through bear-infested forests, backpacking through Europe, cycling up and over the Tour de France race-route. One memorable work holiday was a two-week cycling tour. Rob diligently trained up so he could handle the 50k per day schedule, only to learn on day one that the distances were in miles, not kilometres…
We only ever started to fully realise the extent of his adventurous spirit when just a few years ago, at an age when most people might turn to more gentle pursuits, Rob bought a motorbike. And not just any motorbike. This was a Suzuki Hayabusa, the world’s fastest production bike with a top speed of 312 kph. Right Rob, well that should reduce the 5-minute commute time to work dramatically! He never would reveal his own top speed. It’s probably just as well he opted for a motorbike, because driving cars was never one of his strengths. I’m not sure how you write-off your car in a car-park, but Robin proved it is possible. It probably comes down to practice, but his persistence eventually paid off!
So exactly how should we value Rob’s contribution to GFC? What about seven and a half billion dollars? Well, that’s roughly the amount of money he administered in one way or another over his 26 years of service. As co-operative secretary and head of finance, Robin signed off on every fishermen’s payment and every annual report, every year. As the Co-op rapidly grew in size and complexity, Robin was for many years a one-man army juggling an enormous workload and a ballooning responsibility. There’s no one that worked harder or longer than Robin, yet he never once complained or asked for help. It’s difficult to express here just what a hugely positive impact Robin had on GFC. A monstrous work ethic, an encyclopaedic knowledge of the co-operative, completely unflappable under any circumstances, unfailingly polite and cheerful, a quirky and irrepressible sense of humour… He always led his team from the front, shielding them from any problems or workload where-ever he could: he truly cared for his staff. Despite being a private man, his love for his family shone through all this. Rarely did I have a meeting with Robin where he didn’t proudly update me on the achievements and exploits of his children.
At work, he was the archetypal accountant: he was known for his huge “brain-dump” emails and for writing long reports totally in Excel rather than in Word. His financial spreadsheets would stretch across two massive screens, filled with minute detail and numbers that would speak directly to his accountant brain. Robin was absolutely trustworthy and totally loyal. He loved the Co-operative model: he understood it and lived it. I once asked GFC’s auditors how they rated Robin. After all, they got to see dozens of finance managers from WA’s top companies. Without hesitation, they replied that he was one of the best, and they loved working with GFC because Robin and his team always had everything in perfect order, and were unfailingly helpful and knowledgeable. One of his many legacies is a hugely capable and hardworking department that will rise to the challenge of filling the void he leaves behind.
Robin was a stalwart of GFC’s social club: he never missed a function if he could help it. If it was a fancy-dress night, well… check out the photo.
No-one ever outdid Robin at these functions and he was always the life of the party. I think this is when he was at his best: so happy and full of crazy jokes and stories. So friendly, kind and respectful to all, whether they be chairman or factory worker.
One of Rob’s great unsung achievements was that he single-handedly introduced affogatos to Geraldton. Back in the 1990’s, the well-travelled Robin would be craving his shot of espresso and ice-cream with Frangelico liqueur on the side. Never mind he was in a Thai restaurant in country WA, about as far from an Italian cafe as you could get! Robin was happy to head into the kitchen and educate the bemused staff on how it was done. He was ahead of his time of course, but after a few years of persistence, the affogato became a Geraldton staple, and a running joke at GFC.
Rob was truly one of the unsung heroes of the co-operative and the industry. It’s a shock that someone so full of life has gone so suddenly. We still expect to see him walk up the stairs at any moment, and his empty office is difficult to walk past. Our hearts go out to his family that he loved so much. Robin was an inspirational work colleague and a kind-hearted friend. I’ve spoken to many of his workmates this past week, and his memory initially evokes such deep feelings of sadness, but then comes the admiration, the quirky, happy stories, and the smiles and laughter. This will be Robin’s true legacy here at GFC. Rest in peace Robin. We’ll have an affogato for you, with Frangelico, of course.
Source: The Brolos Catcher