Jack Lennon is living the dream, and deservedly so. The Goondiwindi-born father of two and husband to Colombian-born Natalia, has recently been appointed to the role of production superintendent at Mackay Sugar’s Marian Mill, and he’s loving it.
“I am so proud to be working in agriculture and supporting the agricultural sector,” Mr Lennon said.
“I’m also really proud to be doing something that is really Australian. Working as part of a team in an industry which is so important in this country means a lot.”
Mr Lennon started at Mackay Sugar in late 2016, taking on the role of assistant production superintendent. After a few months he asked to be demoted (yes, you read that correctly) and he spent about 18 months as a shift supervisor.
“I had spent more than 10 years working at an oil refinery in Brisbane and I always just wanted to get back to a rural area; and to use my industrial skills to support agriculture, which I love,” he said.
“Getting the role at Mackay Sugar was brilliant for me; I knew I needed to get a first-hand look at what it was like at the operational level and what the tradespeople were dealing with.
“I wanted to do a proper job and you cannot do that if you don’t know how everything works.
“My favourite thing about Mackay Sugar, I think — it’s the people. We have such a long-standing and committed workforce and the skills and depth of knowledge here is incredible. I have so much respect for everyone here. It’s a good organisation to work for.”
Mr Lennon grew up on a sheep, cattle and wheat farm, before completing his university studies at the University of Queensland in Brisbane in chemical engineering.
This, he said, gave him a good understanding of what growers needed and what they were up against, both seasonally and day to day.
“I think I just have an overall understanding of agriculture and what it can take to make things happen,” he said. “To be able to use my skills as a chemical engineer, in the field, and doing a job which really means something to me, is pretty special.
“I am doing what I love where I love, and as a family the region has everything we could need. The (Pioneer) Valley is a really beautiful place and the community and sense of family here is something we enjoy. It’s certainly home to us now.”