DINO Down Under

Darren Baxter from Access Sales and Spares in Australia has been a Dinolift distributor since 2017. We sat down with him to find out more about the collaboration and Darren himself.

 

The early days

I’m originally from the UK and moved out to Australia in 2002. I was 22 and got offered a job out here. I initially turned it down due to commitments in England, but once they came back in I knew I had to jump the chance to move to Australia. I’ve been here ever since and couldn’t be happier.

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DINO products bask in the Victoria sunshine
Photo credit - Darren Baxter

How did the relationship with DINO come about?

Even though Dinolift is actually from Finland, I first heard of them when I lived in London – that seems a very long time ago now! I had heard good things about Dinolift and their products. When I started my company in Australia, I knew I wanted to have their products in our exclusive range, which is focused on tracked and towable access.

I was working with another dealer at the time, but everyone could work with them and I wanted something exclusive and a different offering. It turns out the Dinolift distributor was leaving for a new job and had put my name forward. So, I took all the stock from Sydney and sold it immediately. I happened to be flying back to the UK for a family holiday shortly after and was offered the chance to travel to Finland and visit the factory. I was struck by how friendly and professional everyone was at the factory in Loimaa. The people were so welcoming and I cannot wait to get back there.

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Darren during his first visit to the Dinolift factory.
Photo credit - Darren Baxter

A long-distance working relationship

The time difference is obviously the biggest obstacle we have in our working relationship with Dinolift, but the regional managers adapt their working hours to suit us, which is great. To be honest, Dinolift is always there to help us support our customers, which makes for a very strong chain of support. We communicate with the guys in Finland at a very high level.

My main point of contact is Matti Boman. Matti is a superstar and one of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life. Of course, problems arise in business but I can never manage falling out with him. You need a relationship like that in business and that’s what makes working with him and pleasure. When I go back to the UK, I try always get to Finland and visit Matti. 10 out of 10, mate!

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The teams in Australia and Finland work together to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Photo credit - Darren Baxter

Why partner with a company from the other side of the world?

Quite simply, they are a good company with a good product – regardless of whether they are round the corner or halfway around the world. If you have a partnership with a level of confidence and trust with the people you work with, distance is not an issue. Plus, Australia is close to nowhere, anyway!

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Another DINO set to hit the Australian roads.
Photo credit - Darren Baxter

Tell us about your company

Access Sales and Spares is a family company that supplies EWP equipment, parts and service support to rental companies and end-users from our offices in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. We started in October 2008 and now have 18 staff members. As I’m sure you know, Australia is a vast country, so this is like having locations all over the European continent!

Our main office is located in the suburb of Sunshine, about 12km west of central Melbourne in south-east Australia. Is it different to my time in London? Yes, you could say that!

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The family-run business even ropes in the family cat to pull its weight.
Photo credit - Darren Baxter

Why did you dedicate to set up on your own?

This is not my first company. I originally had a partnership in 2008. At the time, companies were laying off employees but the work was still there. So, we saw an opening for contractors and decided to set up on our own. It grew and grew, we went our separate ways and the next day I set up my current business. I’m now the managing director, but I guess I could have many more titles than that!

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The company's HQ is located in the wonderfully named suburb of Sunshine.
Photo credit - Darren Baxter

What about you?

My role is to keep the whole ship moving and growing, overcoming problems and finding solutions. It’s a job I love and I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else. I’ve been in the industry for a long time, starting my apprenticeship at 16 as an engineer in London with Nationwide Platforms.

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Originally from the UK, Darren moved to Australia in 2002.
Photo credit - Darren Baxter

Getting personal

My family is everything to me. I’m married to the incredible Corina and we have managed to combine business and pleasure, as she is a full-time member of the Access Sales and Spares team. We have two boys, Charlie, who is six, and four-year-old Harry. They certainly keep us on our toes, given they are both energetic and fun-loving kids. I really hope that they want to join the business one day and eventually take over from their old man.

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Family is everything to Darren.
Photo credit - Darren Baxter


Outside work, I love taking advantage of the great outdoors. Australia is a thrill-seeker’s paradise and I spend a great deal riding mountain bikes and water skiing. As a family, we love to go camping and fishing. I also have to admit I’m addicted to the gym and you will often find me there, although the pandemic has made that a little tricky of late.

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Away from the office, Darren loves getting outdoors.
Photo credit - Darren Baxter


How many countries have you visited?

I reckon I have been to around 20 in total and that includes the UK, Australia and, of course, Finland! I hope to start travelling again once this virus has been contained and we can see loved ones across the world.

Tell us something that no one knows about you

I need a bigger boat, though maybe don’t tell the wife!


Darren, thanks for spending some time with us. Let's finish by asking you to describe yourself in 3 words.

Hmm, good one. Ok, I'll go with passionate, committed, driven. Yep, I'm happy with those.

Matti says...

We couldn’t end without a word from Matti Boman, Dinolift’s Senior Regional Manager, who works closely with Darren.

“Darren is a great mate to work alongside. As he has already mentioned, he’s committed to and passionate about sales and is well connected in the local industry. Darren is always looking to close a deal, plus he offers good service and tech support to our local DINO customers. We talk often, which, thanks to the time difference, means that many calls from my end finish with the words ‘goodnight, Darren’ and I wouldn’t change that!”