Town Hall, where all the Gympie council action takes place. The position is advertised on Seek.com and also appears in the classified section of today's paper. It will be repeated on Saturday and applications are open until Friday July 19.
Town Hall, where all the Gympie council action takes place. The position is advertised on Seek.com and also appears in the classified section of today's paper. It will be repeated on Saturday and applications are open until Friday July 19.

Big shoes to fill as former Gympie mayoral candidate retires

GYMPIE Jobmatch CEO Garry Davison will leave some big shoes to fill when he retires.

Having spent all his working life in Gympie, dedicating his time to organisations in the past such as the Gympie Chamber of Commerce, the Disaster Management Committee, Weeroona Disability Support and Community Action Group, the treasurer of the Gympie/Cooloola Rotary Club and board director of The Rattler Company is ready to move on.

While he plans in his retirement to continue and maybe even expand his roles with Rotary and the Rattler committee, Mr Davison is looking forward to spending more time with his family.

He first started his business career when he and his wife bought Rowe's Store, a general store where Signarama is now located in Mellor St, in 1982.

Born from a long line of achievers, Mr Davison's father and grandfather both worked at the butter factory in Tozer St (at one stage the largest butter factory in the world) and Mr Davison's grandfather was part of the crew that established a world record for the amount of butter made in January 1935.

In 1985, Mr Davison was elected to the Gympie City Council and ran for mayor in 1988 against Joan Dodt (who was elected to the position) and Mick Venardos (who was defeated in 1988 and became mayor of the Cooloola Shire in 1997).

In 1991, he sold the shop and applied for a job as the manager for a new disability employment service that was just starting up, Jobmatch.

Jobmatch is a not-for-profit organisation with local management and a board for strategic direction, made up of Gympie businesspeople and respected community members that include doctors, lawyers, bankers and financial advisors.

Any profit made by the organisation is directed back into the community and in the past has made sizeable contributions to Little Haven Palliative Care, Wishlist, Sailability and other charitable endeavours.

Mr Davison said his appointment was the first time someone had been hired to that type of position who didn't have a disability background.

"The board wanted someone who was well known in the community and knew how to manage a business,” Mr Davison said.

Only three staff members assisted Mr Davison in those early days, two full-time consultants and a part-time administrator, but that number is now in excess of 30 staff members and they provide services that covers all of the Gympie and South Burnett regions.

"We were focused on what we do and what we do well,” Mr Davison said. "We must have done something right.”

Some of the highlights of Mr Davison's career with Jobmatch have included being chairman of Disability Employment Australia - a group made up of disability employment providers, to which 80 per cent of all disability providers belong - for the past 20 years.

It was in this capacity Mr Davison met with federal ministers and was able to bring about significant change in 2007 to uncap employment services for disabled people, so that people in this group could access these services the same as anyone else.

The following year, he was invited to Parliament House in Canberra to give a presentation on mental health and the barriers to employment faced by those with mental health issues.

With Jobmatch currently a year into the new five-year contract, Mr Davison felt it was the perfect time for someone new to take the reins.

"The obvious choice for the role is Karen Brus, who I have worked with for 26 years, however she sees it as a full-time position and she is happy to be in a support role,” Mr Davison said.

He said putting on someone now would allow the new manager time to settle into the role before having to worry too much about the next tender.

He said he would be happy to work with the new person to help them settle in, or was equally content to step back entirely and hand the reins over. He is also open to working with Jobmatch on a contract basis, doing part-time work in employee assessments on productivity and support needs.

The position is advertised on Seek.com and also appears in the classified section of today's paper. It will be repeated on Saturday and applications are open until Friday July 19.