Although Callum was born in Lismore on the NSW North Coast, his family moved to Nowra when he was still very young. He attended Saint John the Evangelist Catholic High School in Nowra. Callum was always eager to work with his hands, and so at the age of 16 he took the opportunity for work experience at PB Smash Repairs, a local family business that’s been operating in Nowra for decades.
“It was at PB Smash Repair that I found my niche, and as I was never really all that keen on school, I jumped at the opportunity. The owner, Peter Barton, gave me exposure to the entire collision repair process and the option to do autobody repair or refinishing, but as I saw the customers’ reactions to the completed vehicle, it was such a thrill. It was then I decided that this is what I wanted to do for a career – I just love the creativity of the painting process.”
Callum was proud to say that his dad, Kevin, has been the greatest influence on his early years and continually provides the inspiration to be the best he can be. Kevin, who owns his own truck repair business in Nowra and has a long-standing commitment and connection to the local automotive industry, has no doubt that cars are part of Callum’s DNA.
David Heffernan, who oversees the Automotive Refinishing program at TAFE NSW’s North Wollongong campus, nominated Callum to be a participant for the 2018 intake to the PPG Scholarship program as a direct result of the quality of his work and his commitment to learning his trade. PPG Training Manager, Trevor Duke, who runs the scholarship program, said: “Callum is a very impressive young man who is never afraid to ask the difficult questions so that he can improve in every aspect of his craft. He is a real pleasure to have in the program.”
Peter Barton summed it up: “Callum came to us as a 16-year-old in 2016 and now he’s running the paint shop. He has an exceptional work ethic, is an excellent painter and never stops looking for ways to improve the business. He is a credit to his family and we are proud to have him on our team.”
Although Callum believes it’s too early for him to have a long-term plan, he does like to maintain a solid work-life balance, taking every opportunity to go fishing, camping or motorbike riding. “At this stage, I really want to focus on learning my trade and I’m so grateful for the opportunities at PB Smash Repairs. I also want to thank IAG for their support of this great program.”
Editor: IAG’s ongoing support and sponsorship of these awards is greatly appreciated. With such strong recommendations from across the industry, Callum is indeed a worthy a Future Leader of the Industry.