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Mill manager’s grand plans

Deniliquin Rice Mill's new site manager Mark Gabite is looking forward to further improving the Deniliquin facility and its operations.

TYLA HARRINGTON March 1, 2013 4:32am

As SunRice’s new Deniliquin Rice Mill site manager, Mark Gabites sees a bright future ahead for the company.

Mr Gabites joins SunRice after having previously worked as an area business manager for PFD Food Services, one of Australia’s largest privately owned food distributors.

Prior to that he spent a year working for Aussie Foods as a group general manager and worked for George Weston Foods Baking as the NSW general manager for 10 years.

Having been with the company since January 8, Mr Gabites said he wants to focus on ‘‘good old fashioned values’’ — to make SunRice not only a great workplace but a world leader in its efficiency program.

‘‘Our number one focus is the culture of the site,’’ he said.

‘‘We have an excellent team and some really good improvements have been made.

‘‘We’re also continuing to drive the safety program.’’

Mr Gabites feels it is essential to work and help the community.

He also plans to put the Deniliquin mill, which is already the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, on the map.

‘‘The aim is for the Deniliquin site to be the best place to work in the Riverina, without question.’’

‘‘We want it to be the employer of choice.’’

‘‘I always knew quite a lot about SunRice.

‘‘I knew the values were very good.

‘‘I like how it’s owned mainly by the growers, it makes it very natural.’’

At the moment, Mr Gabites is in Deniliquin on his own, but said his family would arrive after Easter.

His wife and four children are still in Sydney, and he visits them fortnightly.

But Mr Gabites said he was keen for the whole family to be ‘‘locals’’.

He said despite living in Sydney, he said his family have always been ‘‘country people’’.

‘‘We’ve always lived on the land — the values and upbringing is better (than the city life),’’ he said.

A huge positive for Mr Gabites is being able to get to work in 10 minutes instead of two hours.

‘‘It’s a massive benefit.’’

‘‘I’ve met some really nice people too. I have found the community really welcoming.’’

Mr Gabites replaces Cornelius Van Dyk as mill manager after he left in November to take up another position.

At Deniliquin, SunRice has 135 permanent staff with an additional 40 part time workers, which is known to fluctuate. And they are still recruiting.

Mr Gabites said SunRice is expecting another large rice crop this season.

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