Port worker keeps on keeping on
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
TED Michel is a stayer.
At the age of 16, Mr Michel took a job as assistant storeman at the Gladstone Harbour Board.
Forty years on and the name of Mr Michel's place of work may have changed, but the address is still the same.
When he first started work, tonnage at the port had just exceeded one million tonnes for the first time, it now handles more than 60 times that.
At the time he was one of about 50 employees, today about 450 work at the port.
Now superintendent of supply, Mr Michel's longevity was honoured on Saturday night at the Central Queensland Ports Authority (CQPA) service awards.
"It's kind of strange, I have seen people start and then retire and now I work with their sons,'' Mr Michel said.
Mr Michel said a constant state of change had kept his job interesting, while the people he had worked beside also provided spice.
"It's always been a pretty good place to work and on the whole they (his fellow workers) have all been good people,'' Mr Michel said.
Speaking with The Observer yesterday Mr Michel said he had a choice of three jobs when he decided to take the position at the then-Harbour Board all those years ago.
"Back then you had a choice of jobs, not like now when you have to fight for jobs,'' Mr Michel said.
"I had about two or three jobs to choose from when I took the job.''
However, more than 40 years of work for the one organisation is nothing new for Mr Michel's family ? according to him he comes from a long line of stayers.
"My dad notched up 40 years at the railway and my brother did 35 years at the railway, so we seem to just be stayers,'' Mr Michel said.
"If I was a race horse you'd put me in the Melbourne Cup.'' CQPA chief executive Leo Zussino yesterday described Mr Michel's work as "exemplary''.
"The wonderful thing from the port's point of view is his (Ted's) enthusiasm towards his work and for the port's development,'' Mr Zussino said.
Mr Michel started work one day before well-known port employee Reg Tanna and the only person other than Mr Michel to notch up 40 years at the port authority was Bryan Jordan, who retired at 45 years.
"I don't know how long I have left, but I don't intend on taking Bryan's record off him,'' Mr Michel said.