Clayton Harrington builds on past success

GROUNDING: Builder Clayton Harrington says his football experience continues to serve him in business. Picture: Christine Ansorge
GROUNDING: Builder Clayton Harrington says his football experience continues to serve him in business. Picture: Christine Ansorge

Clayton, your sporting highlight is an interesting one. What can you tell me about being inducted into the alumni at Emmanuel College?

I’m was proud to be inducted into the alumni at Emmanuel back in 2013.

It’s an honour to be recognised by my peers at my former school.

I was the first trade-based person to be inducted.

It’s a great concept that Emmanuel has in place to acknowledge former students of this wonderful school.

I think if you have a look at the people inducted, they include some remarkable people who have achieved plenty in their various careers whether that be on the sporting field, business, work or in their personal lives. Warrnambool and Emmanuel College are fortunate to have fine ambassadors and I’m confident that will continue in the future as children at the school develop their lives and careers.

Did you like school?

Yes. I really loved school. I knew if I was going to be successful. I had to put in the hard yards at school.

My schooling contained many highlights, but I would have to rate being the captain of the Emmanuel College football side in 1993 as the main one.

We played in the old Herald Sun Shield Football competition against other secondary schools from Melbourne including Xavier College. The final was played at Kardina Park in Geelong and we won the shield.

The side was coached by Leigh  McCluskey and his assistant was Noel Mugavin. We had some very good players including Anthony Wright and Jay Everall.

Clayton, where did your footy career begin?

I started out playing with Dennington juniors before going to Port Fairy.

I was captain of the under 18 side for two years in Port Fairy and then played seniors when Ron Wearmouth was the coach.

I’ll never forget we were playing South Warrnambool at the Gardens Oval one day and they were well in front. Ron called for a head count as he thought South had an extra player on the ground.

Ron’s decision to call for a head count caused confusion, but it allowed us to catch our breath and we ended up winning the game.

I went over and played at Warrnambool for one season because my dad Kevin had played at the club.

Jack Marshall was the senior coach at Warrnambool, but my mates Leigh Anderson, Brett Evans and Anthony Wright were playing at South Warrnambool so I joined them.

I played in the seniors and reserves at South.

I was the captain-coach of the reserves side when they won the flag in 2006 and 2008.

The 2008 premiership was extra special because we were considered the underdog when we beat Warrnambool.

My footy career ended in 2009. I had a good run and really enjoyed my time playing footy, but due to family and work commitments I knew my days of footy were over.

I think playing sport taught me many things which have been beneficial in my business career.

Team work, listening, communication skills and leadership are all things I learnt through footy and the same principles can be used in business.

You mentioned your late dad Kevin playing footy at Warrnambool. How many premierships did he play in at the Blues?

He played in three senior  premierships with Warrnambool in the era when Daryl Salmon was at the club.

He had a stint coaching Warrnambool’s reserves side. Sadly, Kevin passed away in 2006 after a bout of cancer.

My dad was an amazing person and there’s never a day that goes past that I don’t think of him.

He worked at Nestles for many years before starting up Statewide Waste with my mum in 1990.

I would say it’s through their guidance and support that I’ve been able to achieve in business what I’ve done to this stage of my life.

I’ve been ably assisted by my wife Jacinta. She’s been a wonderful backstop. Both my parents had set goals and worked hard.

They were disciplined and had strong work ethics and massive commitments to never giving up no matter how tough things were getting.

How did you get involved in the building industry?

I did a carpentry apprenticeship with Westvic Group Training.

I was fortunate because I worked for a host of employers in doing my apprenticeship. Kevin was very good with his hands building things and I believe that rubbed off on me  from a young age as I just liked building things.

Clayton, which projects do you have on the drawing board for 2018?

The business has a four different companies. 

We’re working out at the Riverland Estate at the corner of Caramut and Woolaston Roads.

There’s a 164 blocks in the estate and there’s been keen interest from the public to the project. We’ll have stage one up and running next month. 

It’s a $24 million development and offers things which will be new to a housing estate in Warrnambool.

We’ve worked closely with various groups on this project because it backs onto the Merri River.

A few years ago we did the Princess Heights development in Dennington – that was an $8 million project  and contained 126 lots.

We’ve also been doing a big upgrade out at Warrnambool Cheese And Butter and worked on various other projects including Emmanuel College, the Whalers, the Gallery and the Royal Hotel.

How many people do you employ?

We’ve got 10 people and about 30 sub-contractors working on the various jobs we have on the go around the area. It all takes a bit of keeping up with, but I’m lucky because I’ve got a great lot of people who are very knowledgeable and competent in their trades.