Work-life balance for NSS Finance Manager

Three-decades in logistics and mining have given Northern Stevedoring Services (NSS) finance manager Darren Locke a challenging and rewarding career.  

Starting out his working life as a carpenter, Darren moved into finance roles including accountancy and contracts administration.  Studying externally at the University of Southern Queensland and working full-time, he progressed into analyst roles and then eventually into senior management positions.

Darren spent the early years in the northern Bowen Basin and then in hardrock mines around Charters Towers with his wife Kylie and four children.

His family has grown up in Townsville with Cooper 25, Harrison 23 and Darcy 19 all studying science at JCU, while the youngest 17-year-old Elenore is finishing senior this year. 

The journey ending up in Townsville has been a great move for the family, Darren said.

“The move from mining to logistics was in part driven by family, looking to be home every night,” he said. 

“It’s been the right move professionally as well, because the logistics industry offers quite a diverse range of activities that you can get involved with; stevedoring, transport and warehousing, it’s very diverse.”

“There’re a lot of opportunities to stretch your knowledge and challenge yourself, especially from a finance perspective, (like) how you can best service the customers needs and offer the right level of accountability from a governance perspective.”

NSS Finance Manager Darren Locke 

The relationship between logistics and mining was crucial said Darren who sees it through the unique perspective of having worked in extractive industry for more than 15 years before transitioning to logistics.

“Logistics is quite a complicated process and it’s also very heavily regulated. 

“Internally, we need to have the necessary systems and processes to ensure the appropriate level of governance and compliance for regulatory bodies such as NHVR and AQIS, to name a few.”

“We also deal with the major shipping lines, coordinating with vessel schedules, loadings/unloading, which also involves working closely with the Port of Townsville authority as well. 

“It’s not as simple as picking up at one end and dropping off at the other. There are a lot of influences on that process that we need to manage, to ensure compliance and ultimately that there’s a successful and efficient outcome for the customers.”

Successful business is built on relationships and Darren said NSS strives on finding workable solutions for customers such as during the wet season when the supply chain could be disrupted.

“We know we’re going to get a wet, so we have our procedures for wet weather preparedness. We have an extensive industry network and a broad range of resources and experience that we can draw on.

Darren counts his blessings in having a healthy family, good work life balance and a satisfying career with a great business such as NSS.

“Townsville is a good place to work, a good place to raise a family. I’m grateful that I work for an amazing business such as NSS, which provides me with the work challenges and opportunities that I’m looking for.”

“It also gives me a work/life balance where I can enjoy this beautiful region with my family.

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