Dubbo’s Craig Chandler and Bob Johnson built one of the largest regional irrigation businesses in Australia on a handshake.
Across 15 years they stuck together and grew TEAM Irrigation at 69-71 Fitzroy Street to the point where it caught the eye of a big corporation.
At midnight on Thursday the business built on trust became the property of Ruralco Water Group.
Mr Chandler, 49, has been appointed general manager of the business, still called TEAM Irrigation.
Mr Johnson, 60, plans to retire in June.
On Thursday Mr Chandler reflected on a perfect partnership and planned expansion of the business as Ruralco Water Group’s “project centre in NSW”.
“I’ve never questioned anything Bob has done,” Mr Chandler said. “I look after design, sales and business, and he puts it in the ground and makes sure it works.”
TEAM Irrigation had a humble beginning in the fourth bedroom of Mr Chandler’s Dubbo home and then a rented shed placed on Mr Johnson’s property.
Drought in 2003/2004 forced them to undertake work outside Western NSW but with changed conditions the region came calling.
READ MORE: It’s back to the books for Chandler.
Mr Chandler said from the start the business aimed to provide quality equipment, service and back-up.
“We saw a lot of installations in the early days of irrigation equipment that was substandard,” he said.”It was thrown in the ground and failed.”
Mr Chandler said 90 per cent of TEAM Irrigation’s work came from “repeat clients”.“We’re now replacing equipment we originally installed 15 years ago,” he said.
About 2006 the partners began buying Fitzroy Street properties to accommodate their growing business that currently has 18 employees.
Mr Chandler and Mr Johnson say Ruralco Water Group will take the business further “than we ever could on our own”.
Mr Johnson will retire a satisfied businessman.
“After all we have been through together, Craig and I are still on the handshake and have maintained a trust in each other,” he said.
“That’s really important to me and I’m very proud of what we have achieved.”