Every day, Followmont trucks are on the roads of Queensland (and New South Wales), travelling more than 100,000km, the equivalent of 2.5 trips daily around the equator, moving 3,000 tonnes of goods.
A proud Queensland family-owned business, Followmont Transport started in 1984 delivering magazines out of a small office in Stones Corner, Brisbane.
Today Followmont has more than 970 staff, 1,000 fleet, 23 company-owned regional depots and a network of local contractors.
Mark Tobin started work at Followmont at 17, and today is the Managing Director.
It quickly becomes apparent that Mark spends a lot of time thinking about people – employees, clients, customers, suppliers and communities – and what he and Followmont can do to make things better for them.
For him it really is personal, not commercial, and he lives and breathes the values of the company.
Mentioned in passing without any real detail is the work that Followmont and Mark do for charities in Queensland. The significance and generosity of this contribution is only revealed after our conversation ends and we make some independent enquiries.
After meeting Mark and hearing about the company, you begin to notice the big blue Followmont trucks on Queensland’s roads, and wonder why you didn’t notice them before.
The service that the company provides across the breadth of Queensland is why Followmont is a Great Queenslander.
“It is the people who live here in Queensland. Operating across the State, from Brisbane into Far North Queensland and out west to places like Winton, we see the true character of Queenslanders every day.
Queenslanders really care about each other and have each other’s backs. They value openness and honesty. I see examples every day of the good of humanity, whether that be a customer sending flowers to someone in the office to recognise their work, or Queenslanders working together to overcome disasters and adversity.
It is also the Followmont team, everyone who works in the business. Followmont is a people business, and our people are service driven. We live and breathe our values, and focus on the development of our people. Every person in the company has a growth plan so they can reach their goals, and I am always proud when I see someone who joins the business as a 17 year old build a successful career, whether it is with Followmont or another organisation.”
“Followmont has built a business dedicated to regional Queensland, and it is the loyalty of these communities that has driven the success of our business. Over the years we have built relationships with people and businesses in regional communities who have supported the growth of Followmont.
Today we are very much part of these regional communities, and they make Queensland a great place for business.”
“An investment in improving the road system and safety in Queensland. This is not just important to those of us in the transport industry, it should be important to the general public. Our road system has not kept up with the growth of the State. We are traveling thousands of kilometres every day, and there are stretches of road we see that would be among the most dangerous in Australia, yet these are some of the busiest roads in the State and probably the country. Investing in getting these roads fixed and modernised to not only meet today’s logistics and transport requirements but also general use, is essential.”
Like many others in the communities, Mark sees an immediate need for change in the way the State is addressing the issues of homelessness and youth crime, and would like to see community leaders come together to find a solution and make a difference.
Mark is extremely optimistic about the future of Queensland.
“Queensland is positioned to go from strength to strength in the next 10 years. We already live in the best State in Australia and the infrastructure that is being rolled out, gearing up for the Olympics, will only make it better. We are facing similar challenges as other industries, including staffing shortages and rising interest rates, but small to large businesses with a proper strategy and plan to meet these challenges and grow over the next decade will have enormous opportunity and potential for growth.”
Mark has seen strong leadership and vision result in significant change in regions such as the Gold Coast. He hopes that the business community isn’t subject to more red tape and bureaucracy which slows things down, hinders innovation and getting things done, and increases costs.
“Hopefully there will be a more integrated logistics network in Queensland and across Australia that keeps up with demand and improves the safety of Australia’s transport routes. This could be superhighways or rail networks. We continue to work closely with companies like Transurban to manage vehicle routes when roads are congested, however this is one area where strong leadership is needed and will require Federal assistance for it to happen at a national level.“
“Far North Queensland has to be the most beautiful place in the world with its waterways and people, but there is so much we can learn from the communities in regional Queensland. I’m lucky that my role takes me all over the State and it is impossible to name just one place as my favourite.
Although I can’t imagine living anywhere but Brisbane so maybe it is Brisbane.”
For someone who knows people all over the State, it is not surprising that Mark has trouble answering this question. With a bit of encouragement, he mentions a few people, but there are definitely more he could name.
“The Clontarf Foundation is providing invaluable support to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men by improving their education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects. Followmont has just launched a 12 month partnership with the Clontarf Foundation and is excited to be part of this initiative.
Brad Webb has made a significant contribution to Far North Queensland, giving back to communities across the region, including establishing Foodbank Townsville and donating to a range of community causes.
Rupert McCall’s charitable work, particularly the poems he writes in support of these charities, also comes to mind.
Then there are people who have built significant businesses from small operations or nothing, including Neil Mansell Transport, the Wagners and Michael McNab.”
Followmont is a passionate family business 100% dedicated to service and hands-on relationships with its customers, people and suppliers. Specialising in time-sensitive delivery, Followmont moves cartons, pallets, fresh produce, medical products and special projects to rural and regional areas.
Queensland’s largest family-owned transport company, Followmont is the preferred Queensland and New South Wales carrier for multi-nationals and local businesses alike, delivering 99% of its freight in full, on time.
Established in 1893, Thynne + Macartney has helped people and businesses to build and grow within Queensland and across Australia, as well as navigate the challenges and issues that sometimes arise. Our firm’s history is intertwined with the development of the State, but we haven’t shouted it from the rooftops. It is just not our style.
However, it is not every day that you get to celebrate 130 years of continuous operation and we thought that was something to shout about, but what to say?
Then we realised there must be other people, businesses and charities out there who get on with what they have to do to make Queensland the great state it is – other Great Queenslanders.