‘Choose your own adventure’ style keeps Dave on his toes

Tue December, 3rd 2019

David Waller

Senior Solutions Specialist

As a child, David Waller admits he had a tendency to pull things apart but did not always know how to put them back together.

Today, with a string of qualifications in engineering/technology related fields as well as several decades of practical experience – and plenty of trial and experimentation – under his belt, he says he’s better at reassembling whatever he pulls apart.

Elastomers Australia’s Senior Solutions Specialist hates to see old things being thrown out. He always has a number of projects on the go, from renovating his house, to restoring a 1959 Mitsubishi scooter, to ensuring a 1960s Boema Twin Lever Coffee Machine continues to make a top morning brew.

“I want my kids to understand that old stuff is not necessarily dead stuff,” Dave said.

“It’s good for them to see that with a bit of effort, things can work and often work better than newer options.”

But Dave is not one to shy away from new things either. He holds a Masters of Robotics and Automation, and plays a leading role in driving innovation for Elastomers.

He says the company is the perfect match for his way of thinking and working.

“I’ve never been micromanaged or held back,” Dave said.

“If I could see an opportunity that might have led to good results for the company, they’ve always allowed me to explore it.

“Those sorts of values also extend to people’s wellbeing and the management has always maintained that every employee should focus on their own needs first and work comes second.

“The result is that we all love going to work, work hard, but also have a great work-life balance based on flexible work arrangements.”

While he may be part of the furniture in Elastomers’ head office in Melbourne these days, Dave says he fell into the job quite by accident.

He’d been travelling the world after first graduating from university in the 1990s, but over-exerted himself while doing residential construction work in Germany and the US so had to return to Australia for surgery.

Dave found work back home with a surveying company, but had an unexpected call from Elastomers’ General Manager of Business Solutions Pat Caputo, who’d heard from a mutual acquaintance that he was looking for a more permanent role.

So in 1997, Dave started work in a multi-faceted role that spanned Engineering, IT, working in the factory and a range of other areas.

Three years later, the travel bug struck again and Dave went to work in Scotland for some time. On returning to Australia, he once again commenced working with Elastomers but in 2003 decided to go back to university full time to complete his Masters degree.

The company allowed him to continue working on a contract basis while studying.

Dave took a role with a technology company on graduation in an effort to utilise his newfound knowledge in robotics and automation.

“Being a large multinational company with regimental structure, I became pigeon-holed into a technical writing role and there wasn’t a lot of scope to diversify,” Dave said.

“So with a continued contract relationship with Elastomers and an open door for diversity, the logical choice was to go back to the company and I’ve been there ever since.

“It has always been a company that allows you to choose your own adventure and I’ve been fortunate to work across all areas of the business.

“If people ask what I do, I describe my role as problem solver. It means I get to go on site to look at issues, then work with our teams and our clients to devise whatever’s required, from technical products to service solutions.

“I especially like that Elastomers has remained a family-run business even through years of growth and evolution.

“The company has looked after me really well and that’s what gets me out of bed and excited to go into the office each day.”