After spending virtually all her life in the Australian Bus and Coach industry, Skey Naismith has moved accross the ditch and is now working with Pavlovich as Group Operations Manager.
Skye Naismith’s earliest recollection of the world of buses was sitting in a modied child seat under the front windscreen of a Leyland Tiger greeting a cohort of local
school children as they boarded for their excursion to the Arnott’s Biscuit Factory. Her mother was the owner driver of the bus. “A€fter relocating from New South Wales to the outskirts of Brisbane my mother very quickly identied the need for a community bus service to transport the local kids (including three of her own) to school each day. Aft€er securing a bank loan for her first bus, she set about gaining her bus licence and from this day on I became a supporter of public transport.”
It was perhaps this day to day interaction with people in a public transport environment that led Skye to go to university to study psychology. “With a keen interest in human behaviour and social factors I gained university entrance to study psychology but soon learned that academic life was not for me. A€er working in a handful of administrative jobs I accepted the oer to assist my mother in her growing bus business (Mt Gravatt Coach & Travel), working alongside my father, the operations manager.”
Starting as administration assistant she advanced to become supervisor and then general manager. In 2004 she made the conscious decision to become involved in
the wider industry, through industry associations, to ensure that she kept abreast of industry trends. With the business entering into a Queensland Government
contract for urban and school services in 2004, Mt Gravatt Coach and Travel evolved from a ‘family’ business to a professional, accountable delivery partner.
Last year, aft€er almost 20 years with with Mt Gravatt, Skye felt that it was time to step aside to allow the company to head into the next round of contract negotiations with a fresh set of eyes. “Given that my parents were still heavily involved in the business, it felt less than respectful to work for another operator in the Brisbane area,
hence my search further afield.”
Skye’s husband Julian, a kiwi from the South Island, had been dragging her back to New Zealand on a yearly basis. When the opportunity arose for the National Operations Manager for Johnston’s Coachlines Auckland, it didn’t take much persuasion to call the removalist! She worked at Johnston’s until the new role at
Pavlovich came up.
“While my experience of the New Zealand bus industry is still relatively new, I have found many aspects of the New Zealand bus and coach industry similar to those in Australia. Contract negotiation for urban and school operators have been a part of everyday life in Australia for some years. New Zealand is fortunate to have some great examples of successful contract partnerships to assist them with their approach to upcoming negotiations here. Changes to health and safety legislation and the introduction of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in Australia has brought about the need for operators to ensure that they focus on safety, accreditation and
compliance rst and foremost. New Zealand operators will soon be faced with the same challenges as we work our way through the New Zealand Health and Safety reform.”
For Skye, ever since those first memories in the front of her mum’s bus, the bus and coach industry has always been about people. “Bus operators provide vital support to the community to enable people to move across the region for various reasons. As a manager within the bus industry I have the privilege to work with both internal and external customers on a daily basis to make a positive contribution to people’s wellbeing.”
In her role at Pavlovich Coachlines as the Group Operations Manager – Bus, she is responsible for the operation of the company’s urban bus division across the Auckland and Hamilton regions. She feels her strengths in this new role are her strong experience in contract negotiation and managing stakeholder relations, in addition to her commitment to best practice and optimal operational performance. The drivers she manages, she says, aect her decision making each and every day, and she has the utmost respect for them. “Often not a glamorous or well remunerated position – bus drivers continue to faithfully don their uniform and hone their
skills to deliver their ever-increasing customer service targets.”
Skye has only been at Pavlovich for few months now, but already feels she is settling in and is happy to be living across the ditch.
“I feel very fortunate to have joined Pavlovich, a company with 75 years of service to the Waikato region with a chief executive committed to continuous improvement and sta development. My aim as Group Operations Manager is to ensure that we have the operational systems, structures and support in place to position the company for future growth.”