2006 Summer/Fall Volume 6 No. 2

Introducing a Sharp Guy From New Zealand, and a P.A.C.E.

By Vernon Hills

With a population of just over four million, New Zealand is about the size of the state of Kentucky. And within this parcel of land, you’ll find mountains like those in Colorado, a North Island coast as enchanting as Alaska’s coast, and a South Island like the South Pacific. Although small in population, many New Zealanders have made their mark in the world, from Sir Peter Blake and crew taking the yacht racing America’s Cup trophy away from the US, to capturing Hollywood box office records with stars such as Peter Jackson (director of Lord of the Rings and King Kong), Sam Neil and Russell Crowe.

Now PolyJohn International has tapped their own “Kiwi” star to help them better serve Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands—Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa and Raratoa. Chris Sharp is his name, and as the name suggests, he’s a pretty sharp guy. He came to PolyJohn as a business consultant with an MBA from Massey University and a strong background in the plastics industry.

When asked how he got into the portable restroom business, Chris said, “I was actually setting up international manufacturing rights for a range of New Zealand-designed plastic boats when I met Vernon Hills and the Cooper family.

I liked them right away and was impressed with their ethics and products. Then I guess you could say I was in the right place at the right time, because they were just getting into this market in a bigger way and needed a sales rep.”

While PolyJohn has only been in the New Zealand market for two years, PolyJohn now accounts for over 80% of the portable restroom sales to the market there. Most sales are for the top-of-the-line FLEET units with freshwater flush. This model is particularly popular, because unlike North America, they never have freezing weather to contend with. Another reason freshwater flush is popular in this region is because environmental concerns are top priority.

The territory Chris covers spans thousands of miles across the Southern Hemisphere. But he enjoys the travel and likes meeting all the different people. “I travel every six weeks between Australia and New Zealand. It’s about a three-hour flight across the Tasman Sea. However, just getting from one city to another in Australia can take longer than it takes to travel from New Zealand. It’s a huge continent with a vast unpopulated interior.”

The New P.A.C.E.
Australia is also a growing market for PolyJohn; however, there is a strong local competitor in this market with its own reps and state distributors. “To do better in the Australian market, we had to find a way of getting the PolyJohn products from Whiting to Australia at a more economical rate. Shipping the disassembled restrooms to our part of the world is a huge cost.” Chris said. “That’s why I am very excited about the new P.A.C.E. design that we showed at the Pumper Expo in Nashville this year. The P.A.C.E. was designed specifically for the overseas market with tanks that nest within each other and walls that lay flat so that you can get 2/3rds more restroom units into a shipping container. By reducing shipping costs, we are confident we can compete with any local supplier.”

With a new restroom and a “sharp” guy to represent us, PolyJohn is looking for great new opportunities down under.

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