Warren Coe, 40 Years in the Business
Warren Coe is a hard-working joker who is part of the furniture at Drury quarry. His personalised plate is QRYHRD (Quarry Hard) but everyone who knows Warren will agree that he is a man with a big heart who likes to laugh. He is a positive role model and a helpful mentor to those who work alongside him.
At the age of 20 years old, Warren started working for Stevenson. After 14 months he got itchy feet and decided to travel to Australia to do some exploring. He arrived back in New Zealand and continued to work for Stevenson for another 14 months before the travel bug bit him again. On returning to Stevenson for the third time, Warren settled into his job and has been at Drury ever since. “I’ve been married to my job for as long as I have been married to my wife, 39 years,” laughs Warren.
Warren is a versatile and experienced guy who has earnt the position of Leading Hand Specialist Operator. “Basically I’m a Gopher for my managers Nathan and Ashton, I take on the tricky digger jobs, removing loose rocks from high faces. I do any jobs that need to be done, even the ones that no one else wants to do. I like to get stuck in and be hands-on, it makes me feel good.”
Drury Quarry Manager Nathan Gibbons says, “Warren will do anything for anyone, he always tries his best to help people out. He carries out all of his tasks promptly and makes sure his workmates are working safely and doing the right thing. Warren has a really good work ethic and likes to make sure the job is done properly and to his high standard.”
It was Warren’s love of machinery that attracted him to the quarrying industry. “I love machinery, diggers and loaders, and I really enjoy teaching younger people how to operate them, that is a great part of my job,” says Warren. A typical work day for Warren starts at 3 am and finishes at 3 pm. “I get into work before 3 am and drive around checking that the roads and benches are safe. The night shift team hands over and the fuel guy arrives around 3 am as well. Then I get out my diary and plan for the day. I’ve never been late to work in 40 years.”
“Warren is a hard worker, he is the first one on-site in the morning (sometimes 2 am) doing site checks and catching up with the night shift before they leave. He is always willing to have a joke and a laugh but also willing to help anyone out and share his quarry knowledge and experience. He’s a great leader to have on-site and is well-liked and respected by the whole team,” says Assistant Quarry Manager Ashton Cogdale.
Over the years Warren has seen many changes in the business, especially in the area of safety. “The safety rules and procedures have changed dramatically which was necessary to keep everyone safe.” One of the most valuable things Warren has learned in his 40 years of working is to listen to his intuition. “I tell people if they are feeling doubtful and questioning if what they are doing is safe, then that is their brain and body warning them. I teach people to stop, think, and ask themselves, is this the safest option, can I make it safer, or can I do this another way? Asking these questions will keep you safe not only at work but in life in general,” says Warren.
“I tell people if they are feeling doubtful and questioning if what they are doing is safe, then that is their brain and body warning them. I teach people to stop, think, and ask themselves, is this the safest option, can I make it safer, or can I do this another way? Asking these questions will keep you safe not only at work but in life in general.”Warren Coe, Leading Hand Specialist Operator, Stevenson Aggregates
Another significant change Warren has experienced is the upgrade of comfort and technology in the machinery. Warren says, “The modern machines are fitted out with air-con and heated seats. They are much more comfortable these days. I didn’t even have a roof over my head when I first started operating machines. The cold would make you work faster otherwise you would freeze to death,” he jokes.
Warren says he works with a really good crew of people out at Drury and that it’s the people that make his job so enjoyable. Drury’s managers were recently away at a conference so Warren and Loader Leading Hand Rosie Toto-Croucher were put in charge of the quarry. “We had a really good turn-out of workers on the Saturday, 32 people. I enjoyed telling the bosses about the record number of people, especially for a Saturday,” laughs Warren.
Unfortunately during Covid times, Warren couldn’t work on-site as he was at high risk because of a respiratory medical condition. His wife decided to buy him 10 litres of paint to paint the hallway at their home. Warren knew that 10 litres was more than enough paint for just the hallway, so for the next 8 weeks he was kept busy painting the entire inside of their home.
“When I’m not working, I’m working at home, mowing the lawns and looking after the garden. I watch a bit of rugby on tv, and I love spending time with my grandkids, we take them out and go to the movies,” says Warren. This September, Warren is heading back to Australia, but this time he is taking his 8-year-old grandson to meet his great-grandmother, and his grandaughter to celebrate her 16th birthday.
Warren is a positive role model and mentor who is happy to pass on his wisdom and advice to anyone who is thinking about a career in quarrying. He says, “There are lots of opportunities if you are hard-working and have an interest in machines. You can operate machines, work in the lab or be in a management role. There are lots of branches to choose from and travel opportunities, the people at Stevenson are a good bunch to work with.”
He continues, “Stevenson has been good to me, I have really good bosses and even management is good at taking a joke. It’s easy to get on with everyone, you just need to be genuine and have a bit of fun and a laugh – just as long as no one is getting hurt.”