McFall Fuel is a fuel and lubricant logistics specialist servicing farming, forestry, commercial, transport, construction, marine and other business sectors. The company offers bulk fuel, lubricants, fuel cards and storage solutions and operates across the North Island.
The McFall Fuel team has always had a culture of enthusiastically helping customers through service and innovation – in 2022 that innovation extends to the make-up of their operations team.
Chances are you’ve probably seen the McFall name on their fuel tankers and trailers on the highway at times, but most people are unaware that behind the wheel, and behind the scenes in the logistics planning office, a couple of talented women are breaking new ground.
Think ‘tanker driver’ and most people visualise a hi-vis overall clad ‘bloke’ – Think again when you next see a McFall Fuel tanker. Bulk fuel delivery driver Mel Riddle is anything but an ‘average’ driver – the experienced class 5 tanker driver has been with McFall Fuel for four years, having come from 15 years as a builder in the Waikato.
Why the change in profession? “Because I wanted new challenges,” says Mel.
McFall Fuel CEO Sheryl Dawson describes Mel as a dynamo.
When she’s delivering to a new farmer, Mel has a rule: “If I can’t make them have a laugh in the first 5 minutes, then I’m not doing my job.”
Sheryl is very up-beat in acknowledging the big impact women have had on McFall Fuel’s operations. The family-owned business operates across the entire North Island and has broken new ground over many years employing a string of women in what have often been traditionally viewed as ‘male-dominated’ roles.
McFall has around 10,000 customers – in effect, the efficiency and professionalism of the company is critical to the success of many New Zealand industries and the economy as a whole.
“Having these talented women enjoying varied and exciting roles in the industry is extremely exciting,” says Sheryl.
Another exceptional woman in a critical role with McFall Fuel is planning team lead Holly Mitchell. Holly has been with the company for seven years.
She originally came to New Zealand from Wales to work on the Rena clean-up – she now leads a core team of 10 planners in the high-pressure role of fuel planning and logistics – a role in which you have to be “sharp and smart” according to CEO Sheryl Dawson. Holly thrives on the challenges the role brings.
“These are high pressure roles – things have got to be sorted, often at the most inconvenient hours.”
“I’m pleased to say our people are not only up to the task, they are the best.”
Given the impact of women like Holly Mitchell and Mel Riddle, it seems unlikely that this New Zealand growth business will not feature an ever-expanding number of talented women in key roles into the future.