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A hands-on approach to whatever it takes

Alex Shulman |   May 18, 2023 8:33:00 AM

Joining Higgins' workforce as a painting sub-contractor in 2015, Thomas (Tom) Hitchen didn't know what the future held for him but knew he wanted it to be at Higgins.

Fast forward to 2023, and Tom has progressed to Operations Manager after several promotions internally.  

Paint supply DV Phones (1)

Tom Hitchen presenting DV Safe Phone CEO Ashton Wood with complimentary Dulux paint for their premises

We spoke with Tom about his passion for operations and how it's guided his career at Higgins.

How did you get your start with Higgins?

I started working on the brush for the Toowoomba team, and before long, I realised I wanted to work with Higgins full-time.

I was lucky enough to commence full-time as a Project Manager, which I really enjoyed.

I knew working in Sales was in my future it was just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.


How did you transition into a sales role?

I made it clear to the people around me that I had an appetite for Sales, which the team supported me with.

In conjunction with HR, I created an Independent Development Plan (IDP), mapping out progression goals and some courses that would help get me there.

Shortly after that I began working in a hybrid Project/Business Development Manager (BDM) role that allowed me to build on my customer orientation.

After success in that role, I moved into a full-time BDM position and eventually took over as Branch Manager of the Toowoomba team.


What was it like working as the Toowoomba Branch Manager?

I never felt out of my depth. Higgins' training and support gave me the platform to succeed from day one - it was my favourite role so far.

Implementing systems to develop a team and seeing those people grow was rewarding.

I was responsible for interviewing and hiring a new BDM at the branch - although I have moved on to a different role, I still get a smile seeing him succeed.


How did you pivot into your current role as Operations Manager?

It was a big decision that Higgins backed me in with along the way.

From a lifestyle standpoint, I wanted to be on the Sunshine Coast, and Higgins made it known that they'd support that.

I've been able to move into a role with oversight on one of our busiest operations teams in the Sunshine Coast and while doing so map out further progression from here.

Scott McLady (Area Manager - Central Queensland) has been an awesome advocate - I feel lucky to be able to leverage his expertise.

It feels great to be so heavily involved with the training of new Project Managers here, I'm really glad I made the move.


Why do you love working at Higgins?

Besides the career progression, I feel a strong sense of independence at Higgins - there's no micromanagement.

From Gerard Higgins (Managing Director) all the way through to the painters, you're trusted to do your job and when you do it well the Higgins family will celebrate your successes.


Are you interested in a career at Higgins? Check out our opportunities today!