Rodney Baxter has worked for five years for O’Brien® managing the Darwin branch, the company’s only vehicle glass repair and replacement branch in the Northern Territory. Here we chat with him about his team, what makes Darwin unique and the impact of COVID.
What do you like most about Darwin?
I have lived in Darwin for eight years. Before that, I was based for 17 years in the Pilbara Region of North-Western Australia. My wife and I were looking for a change from Karratha but did not want to move to a big city. I got the opportunity to move to Darwin and, after visiting, we decided it was the perfect city for us. It had all the opportunities of a city but without the big city problems. I often refer to Darwin as the 20min city, It takes 20min to get to the northern suburbs or to the rural area from the CBD and our rush hour traffic is more like a 10min rush.
Not only that, but I also love the weather. And I know some people will think I am mad, but I love the freedom to escape the city and camp in the bush less than one hour from home, and in some of the most diverse areas Australia has to offer.
How big is the O’Brien® AutoGlass team in Darwin?
We currently have four technicians and two trainees and are currently looking to employ another trainee to join the team in 2021. Our technicians vary in experience with our most experienced having been with us for 12 years and our newest and youngest technician having started just before Christmas and straight out of school. As a team, we are hardworking, up for a challenge and always looking at ways to better serve our customers.
What is unique about the O’Brien® AutoGlass Darwin branch?
The Darwin Branch is unique in that it is the only O’Brien® windscreen repair, replacement, and recalibration branch in the Northern Territory so we must be very self-sufficient and cannot rely on help from other branches. All our glass has to travel over 3700km each week from Sydney to Darwin. This means we carry a lot of stock and the potential for damaged glass along the trip is quite high.
What is the most unusual job you have completed?
Just recently we had to replace the windscreen of an armoured Landcruiser. Because the car was used to transport cash to and from banks, it was fitted with 20mm thick glass in the windscreen and doors that we had to replace.
How are you managing the ongoing threat of COVID-19 in branch?
Fortunately, Darwin has not had any community transmitted COVID-19 cases but as a precaution, we still make sure we sanitise vehicles and regularly wipe down benches, desks, chairs, and doors in branch. We have registered for the NT check-in app so when a customer is staying for longer than 15 minutes, they scan a QR Code that registers that they are at the Darwin Branch and NT Health keeps this info for 28 days to assist in tracking if there is an outbreak in Darwin.