If you can remember Skyhooks and when Ingleburn was mainly bush, there’s a good chance you’ll know Ken and Anne O’Keefe. Married in 1970, a young and ambitious Ken saw a need for superior suspension systems, built for the rugged outback, and with Anne’s support, in 1975 turned their passion for off road motor adventure into one of the World’s most innovative suppliers of suspensions, exporting to over 20 countries.
38 years later, after a tour of state of the art machinery and impeccable workshop, Ken and Anne shared some of their secrets to working together so successfully for so long;
Q What are the best things about working together?
Ken Every day I get to see the woman who has been by my side from a small garage set up to where we are today. To have your best friend share the challenges makes the successes very special. Because Anne’s strengths are often my weaknesses, and vice-versa, it’s great to share decision making on a daily basis.
Anne I believe the trust we have for each other at work strengthens our home relationship, and our different roles means we never get too much of a good thing! My skills as an organiser contrast with Ken’s creativity, and I can still keep up with his endless enthusiasm and energy.
Q How do you resolve disagreements you have either at work?
Ken We will often sit down and share each other’s view, then either resolve it or agree to disagree if it is not a major issue. The golden rule is not to involve staff in different opinions unless you are asking their expert opinion on work related topics
Anne Like all couples, we have disagreements, but they are usually discussed and sorted over a coffee. Many major and decisions are made in the tea room.
Q What advice would you give to young couples thinking about starting a business together?
Anne you have to have trust and respect in each other, and clearly define your roles at work. A strong home relationship first is so important, clearly define your roles and offset each other’s strengths and weaknesses
Ken totally agree, it’s important to have thoughtful communication, open-mindedness and mutual respect.
Special business reader Offer!
Obligation free Safety and suspension check, usually $50
• computer report on wheel alignment
• brakes including hand brake
• suspension and even your vehicle’s corner and total weights
Free if you mention this advert, bookings essential.
Looking forward to make sure your vehicle is safe, Ken
In between customising recreation 4WD’s for the outback and high performance sedans for the local market, the team have fun every year catching up with the Charity Bash making sure the old vehicles are ready for their hair raising journeys across outback Australia in support of Variety’s work with sick and underprivileged children.
2 Noonan Road, Ingleburn Ph: 02 9603 7677 www.ultimatesuspension.com.au