Ojay Leef joined the SafeSmart Access team in August 2017, when the company opened its first inhouse-run Distribution Centre in Wiri, South Auckland.
The move away from using a third-Party logistics service where Ojay previously worked, was prompted partly by a growth in demand for Proscaf and related products. Opening our own yard in Auckland, in turn, freed up space at our Northland factory premises, where there was an increasing demand for manufacturing output. This was largely driven by growth from our export markets for standard and custom aluminium work platforms, stairs and bridges for use in construction, mining, civil and aviation maintenance industries around the world.
With a 20-year career history in logistics, Ojay soon had the Wiri yard up and running, servicing scaffolding companies throughout the North Island, and in November that year, we celebrated with an official opening event attended by a large number of our customers from as far afield as Nelson.
Ojay grew up in South Auckland and attended Papakura High School before embarking on his career in logistics - firstly in food manufacturing, then moving to chemical manufacturing and on to working at a food-grade chemical company, drawing on his experience in both his previous roles.
An OE then led Ojay to take his career to Western Australia where he worked for five years for the Argyle Diamond Mine. “Every morning we had to test the PH level in the oil sump” Ojay recalls. “One morning I went in and there was a crocodile in the oil sump. I ran away so fast, and my team leader laughed.”
Playing His Cards Right
Since returning to New Zealand Ojay and his wife Raena who met at school, now have three children, Autumn 16, Xylon 11 and Raynjah 8.
Those of Ojay’s colleagues who recently attended a teambuilding session with him, entailing a lot of fast-talking, wheeling and dealing, will not be surprised to learn that besides spending time with the family, one of the things Ojay most loves to do is to play cards. It was at this offsite training event that we witnessed Ojay’s obvious enjoyment of some friendly hustling, all deployed with logistical efficiency, accompanied by his trademark wide friendly grin and sparkle in the eye.
“Euchre is my favourite card game because I think I am very good at it” Ojay jokes. “I love to play euchre with friends and work colleagues with drinks!”
Late in 2019, further growth meant the Auckland Distribution Centre moved to bigger and better-appointed premises in East Tamaki. This is where Ojay continues to ably service our scaffolding customers, along with Customer Service Rep Christine Bell, and Yard Supervisor Andrew Clayton. Christine says she and Andrew both enjoy Ojay’s easy-going joviality, but now know when to keep their cards close to their chests!