“Passion is the genesis of genius”
Following the recent acquisition of two companies, tna has significantly broadened its offering to the food manufacturing industry and is this year celebrating its 33rd anniversary. Here, we go back to where it all began and speak to Alf Taylor, tna’s co-founder.
Describe yourself in three words.
Strategic, flexible, innovative.
What’s your biggest professional achievement?
Developing our first and primary product, the robag, on the back of a beer coaster (Tooheys, I think).
How did you get to where you are today?
Motivating myself and others to achieve what initially appeared unachievable.
What does a typical day look like for you?
At tna, we’re continuously striving to improve our product range and its performance, our human resources and our corporate structure.
What have been the highlights of your company’s history, in your opinion?
There have been so many. I think I’m most proud that year after year, tna has focused on continuously growing and evolving to better serve our customers around the world. This is in terms of expanding our product range, increasing our application capabilities and improving our global reach. We can also be proud of our industry renowned human resource development system – our people are the lifeblood of the company. And, more recently, I’m delighted to say tna won the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year award for Eastern Australian. This is a clear demonstration of our commitment and dedication to innovation in the food industry.
What is your pet hate?
Negative attitudes. They represent significant obstacles when wanting to succeed.
Give us a positive prediction for the food industry over the next 12 months.
The industry is moving towards continuous and elevated levels of automation. Manufacturers are nowadays clearly seeing the benefits of total system integration. Machines from a single source supplier are typically designed, assembled and installed so that components will work efficiently with one another, ensuring that your production processes operate at their maximum performance. In addition, intelligent automated control systems can offer further visibility over the entire production line and improve traceability throughout, allowing for seamless integration and operation.
What do you consider to be the most important attributes for a leader?
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Who do you most admire?
Galileo Galilei: “Passion is the genesis of genius.”
Which people/organisations or companies are the ones to watch right now?
I affectionately refer to them as ‘Uncle Robert’, but definitely Bosch.
If you weren’t in your current position, what else might you be doing?
My wife and I spend a lot of time working on charitable projects in developing parts of the world, particularly helping disadvantaged children. This has become something we devote our time to and I imagine if we weren’t doing what we’re doing now, we’d spend even more of our lives on projects like this.
Tell us something about yourself that few people know.
People might find this surprising, but I’m very self conscious.
There’s too many to mention, and I couldn’t possibly list them all here. I love a nice cigar every now and then and I can’t resist a great beer.
What single thing would most improve the quality of your life?
As much as I appreciate the opportunities I have in life to travel the world, sometimes I think how nice it would be to never have to get on another aeroplane again.
How do you relax?
Believe it or not, working on my laptop, reviewing various spreadsheets or even developing new products helps me relax, as that’s what I feel most comfortable doing. From time to time, I also like to spend time with my wife.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a good husband, loving father and somebody who helped a bunch of kiddies.