Greg Whiteley is the Managing Director of Whitely Corporation, with direct responsibility for the Research and Development Team.
Whiteley Corporation has been an Australian family-owned company since 1933. The company has a long history as one of Australian’s leading manufacturers of disinfectants for healthcare, floor maintenance and industrial cleaning products.
Greg is a passionate business man and refers to himself as a contributor and also a competitor.
• Tell us about your career path?
It was a bit unusual. I started obviously in school. I went through what was Hawkesbury Agricultural College as an undergraduate in an Environmental Health Degree, which made me a Health and Building Inspector. I loved it but didn’t enjoy working for the local government as much as I thought I would.
I quickly retracted into an Occupation Health and Safety Masters at the University of New South Wales. I began working in my family’s business. Unexpectedly, the business turned so that my undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications sort of fell perfectly into alignment.
I am still running the business and I’m continuing my study. I just finished a PhD. I’ve just been appointed as an Adjunct Fellow at the Western Sydney University School of Medicine and we run a number of research programs looking at how superbugs move around inside of hospitals and kill people.
• What motivates you and drives you?
I’ve always been a contributor. I like people and I like community. I’m a competitor because I went to a very competitive set of schools. That was part of the ecology of my life and continues to this day.
• What has shaped your leadership style?
Quite a number of things. Influences from family is a big one. People – mentors at various stages of my life have had a huge impact.
I had a strong moral upbringing. The church context certainly had a profound impact on the moral grounding and makes the difference between right and wrong. Those are probably the predominant issues.
On an ongoing basis, of course, is education. It’s always a critical factor that you continue to educate and reeducate. It forms part of the whole innovation sector. So, if you’re not educating and constantly reeducating, it’s very hard to constantly innovate.
• What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?
It’s hard on a weekly basis, because there’s so much going on. I walk the dog each morning, which gives me thinking time. I do enjoy car trips, it gives you thinking time as well. Those are probably the two predominant ones.
• Which local business leader do you find inspiring?
I’ve got a few. The first one is probably Leigh Bryant, who has hung in there over a long period of time and championed the cause of Hunter. I think Ross Taggart, who is the Immediate Past President of the Hunter Business Chamber. Ross, despite some very grave at times personal challenges, has really hung in there tremendously well and succeeded in business.
And, of course two big local businessmen who have done an enormous amount behind the scenes for their community, Jeff McCloy and Hilton Grugeon.I admire both of them for what they have done behind the scenes; just getting in and doing things and being ceaselessly generous in good areas. I think they would be my inspiration in business for people in Hunter. Both for their business qualities and for their generosity.