Q&A with the founder of Lamparto
Hi Wayne, at the risk of sounding like Michael Parkinson, Oprah or Mike Sheahan … welcome to “on the couch”. We’d like to know a little more about you, and we’ve taken the liberty to ask some probing, insightful and hopefully interesting questions. Here goes …
Childhood travel memory?
Long road trips in a 1970’s 4-cylinder yellow Toyota corona listening to Neil Diamond’s ‘Hot August Night’ on the car tape deck.
Earliest memory from school?
Having my brown Donald Duck schoolbag thrown down the drain by a classmate in grade prep. This was in an era when children walked a mile or so to school and shops closed at midday on Saturday. It was an age where one pair of jeans was normal, it was cool to have a ‘pen pal’ and you weren’t allowed to leave the table until everything on your plate was finished.
A meteorologist. In hindsight, this seems a rather strange career choice. It never eventuated. Nevertheless, I live in Melbourne, so the weather is unsurprisingly a frequent topic of conversation.
Favourite TV programs growing up?
Get Smart, Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, The Wonder Years, MASH, I dream of Jeannie, CHIPS, Knight Rider, Open all hours and ‘Allo ‘Allo. ‘Happy Days’ indeed.
Childhood sporting hero?
Paul Van der Haar ‘The Flying Dutchman’ (footballer). Life was simpler when footy was played at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, followed by mum’s roast and Seven’s Big League.
When were you happiest?
It was the end of the school year (grade five) at Glendal Primary school, skipping down the road with my mate David singing a Christmas carol ‘Joy to the World, the Lord is come’.
What is something your mother asked you to give up?
Learning to play the violin before school as a 13 year old. My attempts at playing the violin were not conducive to a harmonious home life.
Favourite sights and sounds?
Children laughing, the stillness of a morning sunrise in spring, the warmth and crackle of an open fire, birdlife at dusk, my daughter saying ‘Daddy’.
When were you first sold a lie?
I grew up in a street with many young families. One day, a race was organised to find out who had the fastest dad in the street. Only much later did we find out all the dads had colluded. It was a completely staged event.
Your most irresponsible moment?
Shortly after gaining my car licence, I rolled a car with three passengers and surf board in the back seat. Massive regret.
Most embarrassing memory?
- Pilot aborted take-off on an Air New Zealand flight as a result of my urgency to get out of my seat and use the bathroom whilst taxiing down the runway.
- My mother following the school-bus to hand over my lunch-box. I was in year 12.
What are you grateful for?
The medical team at Box Hill hospital who patched me up and put me back together after I came a ‘cropper’ whilst riding my pushbike home from work.
Your most challenging role?
Full-time carer for a family member. I now have a more rounded and holistic appreciation for the selfless acts of love and care that family members make in caring for a loved one who has a disability, disease or special need.
What piece of artwork has stopped you in your tracks?
“The Doctor” is a striking and imposing ‘oil on canvas’ by Sir Luke Fildes (painted in 1891 and nearly 3 meters long) housed at The Tate Britain, London.
What city has captured your imagination?
Berlin in Germany has an incredible history (in particular, the last 80+ years). The Jewish museum is a place I would like to spend some uninterrupted time in and explore further.
In the political realm, what would you like to see changed?
More bi-partisan party support for issues like affordable housing, homelessness, foreign aid commitment and agreement on big infrastructure projects. Across three levels of government there is seemingly so much waste, inefficiency and an inability to see beyond the next election.
Societal trends that leave you shaking your head?
Proliferation of online gaming options, the inability to address the drivers of drug-taking, children in detention, digital baby sitters and screentime at mealtimes. Yes, our modern world is a complex place.
Thoughts on the corporate world?
I am somewhat perplexed at how the unseen shareholder influences, drives and dictates corporate values and behaviour.
What appeals to you about small business?
Across this vast country, there are so many stories of individuals and families committed to making their world a better place. From the outback farmer who toils sunrise to sunset or the café owner who spends 12 hours a day on their feet for minimal return, to the wife and mother who sells her hand-made items at a local market, I am often inspired by the resilience and obstacles small business owners seek to overcome.
What business models have inspired you?
Person(s) who you most admire?
My parents were wonderful role models who both faced a diagnosis of terminal cancer with enormous courage and grace.
You have an unusual title on your business card (“street sweeper”). Please explain!
The late Martin Luther King portrays a wonderful 'word picture' on the role in life we all have to play in painting our own canvas. I’m just another person seeking to ply one’s wares with the gifts and abilities I have been given. I love to watch people going about their work at the beginning of the day, whether it be a baker, gardener, builder, green grocer or mother who brings a level of care, service and attention to detail in what they do. At the end of the day, most of us care about what we do and like to think that what we do, does in fact make a difference.
Former basketball coach John Wooden once said: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are…the true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching.”