Press Release – Electra Business Awards
Two businessmen who have each made significant contributions to their local communities for more than 45 years have been inducted into the Kapiti Horowhenua Business Hall of Fame.
Ron Turk and Barry Clevely were inducted into the Business Hall of Fame at this year’s Electra Kapiti Horowhenua Business Awards Gala Dinner in Levin, bringing the number of business people admitted to the Hall to twenty four.
Both Ron and Barry have made hugely positive contributions to their communities over many decades – one as a significant employer, the other as a visionary property developer – both as successful businessmen and community supporters.
And for the first time in its history, the Hall of Fame now has an intergenerational representation with a son joining his father as a Laureate.
Ron Turk: Foxton Business Icon
Joining his father (and fellow Hall of Fame Laureate) in the family business in the early 1970s, Ron Turk has spent the last 17 years at the helm, reshaping the business so that it is well positioned for continued growth.
Born in Wellington in 1956, the middle child of six, Ron Turk moved to Foxton with his family in 1966 where they purchased their first poultry farm, supplying eggs from Paekakariki to Himatangi.
As a boy Ron attended Saint Mary’s Convent School and then Manawatu College where he became part of the school’s first ever soccer team.
The natural progression for Ron was to follow his father, John, into the poultry business and at the age 16 he left school to help on the farm where he learned every aspect of the business through “hands-on” experience.
Over the first 10 years the business remained relatively small with just John, Ron and one employee, but they still managed to grow the farm from 2,000 to 20,000 laying hens.
At the age of 30 Ron decided to improve his business skills, reading a huge number of books on creating successful businesses and undertaking self-directed study at the Institute of Directors, learning finance, leadership and personality profiling.
By the early 1990’s the business had grown to 100,000 hens, and the business entered poultry processing, building their first abattoir. Employing more than 150 staff required a change in management structure and a board was formed. A major cultural change within the business lead to a happier and more productive work environment and supported further growth.
Today Turk’s has been in business for 52 years and employs 220 people, with 180 of them in Foxton (eight of them being volunteer firefighters). Through his years of experience, Ron has learned that business is all about the people and this has led him to make smarter employment choices.
Loving the excitement of being in business and governance, Ron is not only director and board member of Turk’s but in a variety of other organizations, including the Horowhenua Economic Development Board where he is a vital contributor to the many businesses the Board supports. He is on the executive of PIANZ (Poultry Industry Association New Zealand) and was a member of the Egg Federation.
Ron encourages Turk’s to support the local community, with the business sponsoring the Foxton Rugby Club and supporting a variety of local initiatives including the Taste Trail, ManawatuBoating Club and Rescue Helicopter. A keen sportsman, Ron has been a member of the Foxton Squash Club since the beginning.
Married to Stephanie for 37 years, the couple has three children, with his son looking to join him in the family business in the near future.
Ron is honoured to be following in his dad’s footsteps as a Hall of Fame Laureate – the first intergenerational representation in the Hall of Fame – and he hopes his son will join him there one day.
Barry Clevely: Visionary Property Developer
Barry Clevely is a quintessential Kiwi rooted in his local community.
Born in Kai Iwi Beach, Whanganui, Barry spent his first 14 years in Waipawa before moving to Palmerston North Boys High School to continue his education. He then moved on to the NZ Pharmacy College where his budding drive for excellence became evident as he graduated as top student and winner of the Kodak Prize.
Spending his first three years doing locums at pharmacies around the North Island, he eventually became manager of Porirua Urgent Pharmacy before buying the original Waikanae Pharmacy in 1965.
It was during the 1960’s and 1970’s that Barry developed a love for property, both as a developer and an academic.
With five others, he formed the Waikanae Property Enterprise undertaking various developments, like Coastal Dunes in Peka Peka, and projects in Rotorua and Nelson. He also enrolled at Massey University to study property.
In 1973 he became the first employee of property development company RDC. In 15 years as CEO the company expanded its staff to 50 with offices in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. Under his stewardship RDC completed developments worth $700m, including the $200m National Bank Twin Towers in Auckland, and the construction of Colenso House – a project that led the urban renaissance of Wellington City and the first such development designed by the famous Sir Ian Athfield. Other RDC achievements included Perret’s Corner, Mercer House, NZI House, and Williston St Project. During this time he was appointed a Director of the National Land Company which was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
On the academic side, Barry was invited to become a part-time lecturer at Massey University and stayed for 12 years, including covering the Massey Albany campus for 3 years. A recipient of Massey University’s Achievement Award, he was made Deputy Chair of the Massey Property Foundation, and was also awarded a fellowship of the Property Institute of New Zealand.
Sought after as a property consultant, he has advised organisations such as NZ Rail, Air NZ and Te Papa, and was appointed Development Director of the $30m conversion of the former Buckle Street Dominion Museum into Massey University’s Wellington Campus – a project that led to the creation of the MC2 Group.
This partnership has completed a string of Kapiti/Horowhenua developments including the creation of Horowhenua’s first substantial vineyard – Bishops Vineyard, Ohau Village Project – awarded the NZ Institute of Surveyors only national Gold Award of Excellence in 2010.
Alongside these achievements, Barry has held a 40-year directorship in Alpha Corporation, the holding company of Coastlands Shopping Town, and Sheffield Properties where he is also chair of Ngahina Developments Ltd – a trailblazing and highly successful business partnership with local iwi that was formed 30 years ago.
Husband of Hazel, father of daughters Amanda, Sarah and Penny, and grandfather of six, Barry was the foundation director of Waikanae Rotary Club, a member of the committee that built the Waikanae Swimming Pool, a captain of the Waikanae Badminton Club, and a member of the Waikanae Businessmen’s Association and the local school’s PTA. He is a fitting Laureate of the Business Hall of Fame.