Allan Box Retires after 29 years in the Dairy Industry

Allan started at QUF (Parmalat) in January 1989 as a Shift Supervisor in the new yoghurt plant at South Brisbane. Allan had worked in the Dairy industry for 10 years before starting at QUF mainly milk powder, butter and casein plants in Victoria, New Zealand and Toowoomba.

He worked in several areas in South Brisbane after the yoghurt factory including milk packaging and processing also progressing into Production Management positions. During this time, he saw the last glass milk bottle filled in Queensland. In 1997 Allan started as Factory Manager at QUF Monto (inland from Bundaberg). Parmalat also took ownership of QUF at this time.

At the end of 1998 Allan was asked to drive to Brisbane and catch a plane to Coffs Harbour to visit a factory at Raleigh. This was the start of his association with the Norco Pauls JV, at that time the Raleigh factory was still bedding down the plant upgrade to be a liquid milk plant after years as a milk powder plant. Allan says that one of the highlights of his time at Raleigh was receiving a third place award for best quality product in NSW from the NSW Dairy Authority. This award was based on overall quality results and Laboratory testing ability, where the Laboratory were sent samples to test and the results checked against the standard. The award came after the NSW Dairy Authority had written to Raleigh concerned with their poor quality results the year before.

After his time at Raleigh, Allan moved to take up the position of Factory Manager at Labrador Queensland. During this time Chris Oxenford suggest that he join the Dairy Industry Association of Australia (DIAA) committee in Queensland as Secretary a position that Chris had held for many years.

Shortly after starting at Labrador Allan was transferred back to Parmalat South Brisbane to run the yoghurt factory from there he moved to manage the milk plant and finally hold the position of Manufacturing Manager SE Qld which included the Factory in South Brisbane Milk, Yoghurt and UHT plants and the cheese factory in Warwick. At this time Allan was nominated to join the Federal Committee of the DIAA as the Qld representative, this required the consent of the Company as it meant several trips to Melbourne each year.

In August 2005 Allan returned to Labrador as the Distribution Manager. In 2006 the Norco Pauls JV was dissolved and the Sales and Distribution part of the business was sold to Fonterra. Allan moved directly in the Factory Managers position at Labrador, this was very interesting times as all the products needed to be transitioned from Pauls to Norco. The milk volumes through both plants declined to some extent which put some pressure on the factories to reduce costs.

In September 2007 Allan was elected Federal President of the Dairy Industry Association. In this Allan was always glad to have the backing of Norco as it meant travelling around Australia to all of the various State Conferences and Federal Committee Meetings. At this time Alastair Anderson worked as Production Manager at Labrador to assist him running the Labrador Plant while undertaking the Presidents role.

Allan finished as Federal President in September 2009. Then started as DIAA Qld Division President in 2010 a position he only gave up in July with pending retirement.

After a short stint managing milk supply, Allan was appointed as Operations Manager Norco Foods in December 2009. This was his introduction to ice cream, where there were some similarities to yoghurt, the need to present new products to the majors every six months, and the long product runs on one variant. The big changes during his time as Operations Manager were the start of Coles contract at Labrador and the change to the Lismore EBA to a skills based pay system instead of a job based classification. This aligned the ice cream operation with the milk plants. 

Over the last few years Allan has worked as the Business Development Manager, mainly on new projects but also on industry bodies as well. In 2016 Allan was awarded the JI Scarr Gold Medal award for services to the Dairy Industry Association.

Allan is looking forward to giving his new caravan a work out with a trip to Western Australia planned when he leaves the industry after nearly forty years.