Chris Ferguson’s playground is now his workplace.
The third floor office of the new Port Taranaki Chief Financial Officer looks out over Ngamotu Beach, where the former multisporter has spent many long hours training for half-ironman events.
While his competitive days are over - or maybe on hold - the 46-year-old father of four still enjoys the challenge of swimming, cycling and running. But it is the challenge of helping Port Taranaki move forward in a rapidly changing and highly competitive sector that has lured him to this latest role.
“The port is a significant Taranaki asset – there is so much activity going on down here related to oil and gas, agriculture, forestry and property. It is also going through a period of change with an eye to growth – it’s not sitting still - and that was very exciting to me,” Chris says.
“I see my role as working strategically across the business – with the Executive Leadership Team – to make sure we’re leading the business in the right direction and delivering value to our shareholder. It’s about looking ahead, determining where we want to be in 12, 24 or 36 months and making sure that we invest our money wisely and maximise our returns.
While he admits it all sounds “a bit dry”, he points out that managing the finances and spending future of a company is the same as that of an average Kiwi household “only a bit more complicated”.
“It’s the same philosophy as balancing the books at home, but it’s not just me and my wife, it’s me and the Executive,” he laughs. “But it’s about wanting a better future for the business and the region, just as people at home want a better future for their families.”
So while Chris is busy keeping the port’s finances in line, his wife Leanne is making sure the other four boys in the family, including identical seven-year-old twins, are kept in check.
“I’m very lucky I’ve got a wife who keeps five boys in line! Our house is very busy, bordering on chaotic, but it’s great fun. The boys all love the outdoors – playing basketball, tennis, cricket or football, so there’s always something going on.”
And maybe one day there’ll be another multisport athlete in the family getting his dad back training at Ngamotu Beach.