Sales & Operations Manager and Franchise Owner – Lex Gelmi

Lex Gelmi is a well-known Pedders Person from Western Australia who has achieved great things since joining Pedders as a Technician in 2010.

Lex’s career with Pedders has seen him tackle a number of exciting roles and today he doubles as Pedders Mandurah Franchise Owner and WA the State Sales & Operations Manager.

When did you start with Pedders and what was your role?

I’m a qualified Diesel Mechanic by trade and I did my apprenticeship in mining, but I found that it wasn’t really for me. In 2010 applied for a role as Technician at Pedders Booragoon because I knew the brand and wanted to get into automotive. To me it was a lot more interesting than general mechanical servicing because it was all about upgrading or improving the vehicle.

As the Booragoon store was owned by Pedders at the time, the Western Australia State Manager Dominic Trim interviewed me for the role and gave me the job. Later I was asked to move to the Osborne Park store, and after one year there I won the Technician Incentive program for Top Technician which was quite a proud moment because I was still new to the business.

Dominic later took over Joondalup as the franchise owner and he asked me to be Technician so I went and worked with Dom in his store for a few years. Eventually I was employed by Head Office as Store Manager back at the Booragoon location with the idea of either progressing to be State Manager of WA or owning my own franchise.

Shortly after I started as the Store Manager at Booragoon the WA State Manager role became available, so I decided to take that opportunity and a new challenge.

What made you decide to open your own Pedders franchise store?

Having the opportunity to learn so much about the business from the ground up in various roles, allowed me to see how great the business really is. I got to deal with a wide range of people from Technicians, Franchisees and Head Office staff and I thought owning a store would be a good way to apply all of the skills I’d learnt.

After three or four years of being in the State Manager role, I was at a crossroads as to whether I remain as a Head Office employee or become a franchisee. Owning a store would mean spending less time travelling, more time with family, so it was predominantly a lifestyle choice. With that in mind we took on Pedders Mandurah in WA, that was four years ago now.

As a business these days Pedders focuses work life integration and the business encourages its franchisees to build a team that allows the franchisee to be in, or out of, the business when required. So that was really a big focus for us when we took over the store and it has allowed us to have that flexibility.

Now I’ve actually stepped back into the State Sales & Operations Manager role to show other franchisees that you can step away from your business and have a team that can operate without you being there.

 Lex & wife Jenna at the 2020 Pedders National Conference 

How do you and your wife Jenna work together to achieve success?

Initially when we took over Pedders Mandurah, Jenna wasn’t overly involved in the day-to-day running of the business, but we’ve always been good at working in partnership and talking through our challenges together, even when Jenna was working outside Pedders.

So when we took on the franchise, while she wasn’t there in the store she was still an important part because she helped with all the decision making and any challenges I had, as we’re always communicating.

When we transitioned our store to the new Pedders Point of Sale system, that’s when Jenna really got involved and she actually made that a seamless experience for our store. At the time, I never had planned to go back into the Sales & Operations Manager role, but after seeing how she was able to take on her role and handle the change to the business, it gave me confidence that she could take over my position in the store.

Now I’m available more as a support role to Jenna as she manages the business and that’s how we work together now to keep the business moving forward. It’s not something that Jenna ever thought she would do but she’s a sensational people manager and she communicates really well with the team.

How did the opportunity to be WA State Manager for the second time happen?

When Nigel who was WA State Sales & Operation Manager at the time stepped up to be Senior Executive Sales & Operations, we were going through our transition onto the new Pedders Point of Sale system. At the time, my focus was solely on transitioning the store over to the new platform with minimal disruption to workflow.

But a couple of months after we’d completed that process and business was back to normal, Head Office was still looking for someone to fill the WA State Sales & Operations role and they approached me. Unfortunately for Jenna, I like a challenge, and I really enjoy helping our franchisees, so we decided I would take on the position and Jenna would run the store. Jenna has done a phenomenal job.

 Lex is presented with the Bill Orders Top State Award at the 2022 Pedders National Conference by Scott, Ron & Mark Pedder

What’s something you’ve achieved with Pedders that you’re proud of?

Winning the Top Technician award in my first year with Pedders was something that I am really proud of. I went over to the Pedders Conference in Thailand which was a great experience and then as part of the award I was able to go to Germany, which was a once in a life-time experience.

I’m also extremely proud of the fact I was able to accept the Top State award at the 2016 Pedders Conference while I was WA State Manager the first time ‘round. To be able to accept the award on behalf of the franchisees and team members that I’d gotten to know over so many years was one of my proudest Pedders moments.

 Lex & Dominic Trim, Pedders Joondalup & Osborne Park Franchise Owner

Have you had any mentors that have helped you succeed?

Definitely, Dominic Trim has been a mentor to me over the years, he hired me and gave me the opportunity, and he taught me a lot about the culture and how you can have fun at your job. I obviously still talk to Dom a lot and we work closely.

Bill Orders, who was a long-standing General Manager at Pedders, had a big influence on me over the years. I met him for the first time in Thailand when I was awarded the Top Technician award. He also gave me the State Manager role the first time around and he was a major mentor during my time in that role up until he passed away.

Some of my colleagues that I work with now I still see as mentors and people I can learn off. Jason Moody, Sales Manager – Government & Fleet, he definitely taught me to be more of a professional and he’s a great example of a good Pedders Person.

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