End of an era for MLA’s longest serving staffmember

Beef Central, 27/07/2018

Meat & Livestock Australia’s Allister Lugsdin will have notched up 41 years and 132 days with the industry service delivery company when he retires on Monday.

Allister Lugsdin

MLA’s longest-serving employee is the only current staffmember to have worked with the three Australian meat and livestock industry entities – the Australian Meat Board (AMB), Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation (AMLC) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Mr Lugsdin started his career on 21 March, 1977, as a research clerk with the AMB. He progressed through various roles and portfolios that saw him working in Singapore for two years, and then Seoul, South Korea for four years. In 2007, he mo

ved to his current position as Asia Pacific region livestock services manage, where he has spent the past 11 years.

Here he reflects on his four decades of service to the industry.

What do you love about the red meat industry?

I loved growing up in rural NSW. I was born in Dunedoo and my parents ran sheep and cattle and were Shorthorn stud breeders. I studied agricultural economics at the University of New England and had a desire to work somewhere in the meat sector. I loved the challenging, dynamic nature of the industry.

When I left uni in 1976, Australia was in the midst of its biggest cattle crash due to over production combined with our major export markets, USA and Japan, closing their import quotas in response to the world oil price shock. This compounded an earlier setback involving a restriction to volume of exports to the UK market when it joined the European Union in 1973.

This was a time of great uncertainty for the industry and highlighted the need for increased effort to secure improved export market access. I’ve been lucky to be part of a team with AMB, AMLC and then MLA to help push for greater trade liberalisation of our export markets.

In addition to helping overcome the challenges, the other thing that kept me in the industry was the people – from Tassie to the Top End – I always try to find a connection. While my farming relatives and friends didn’t always know exactly what I was doing, I always felt that I had their support and that they knew that I was working on their behalf.

I’ve also enjoyed developing lasting relationships with a diverse range of characters in many of our key Asian markets. They are friends and, of course, important customers of quality Australian red meat.

What have been your career highlights?

I was posted to Singapore in 1982-1984 as a young regional marketing officer and learnt a great deal about South East Asia and the markets for red meat. I had just recently got married (to Sue) and it was great to live in Singapore and travel to meet key stakeholders from Indonesia to Taiwan.

Working overseas is a real ambassadorial role. I was promoting Australian red meat and reporting market information back to AMLC head office. When I returned to Sydney in 1985, I was the first Food Service Manager – as part the AMLC‘s new direction to build a strong domestic marketing program. This involved working in the non-retail food sector to encourage greater use of beef and lamb.

Another highlight was representing AMLC in Seoul, Korea between 1991 – 1995. The opening of AMLC’s office in Seoul was a pivotal moment and I managed the Australian red meat industry’s presence there for four years. Korea is an intriguing market with language barriers and a challenging climate with hot summers and freezing winters. At that time, Korea’s Livestock Products Marketing Organisation (LPMO) was Australia’s   largest individual beef importer – but it was a government controlled import regime.

As the Korean market began liberalising in 2001, I was able to contribute my market insights into a World Trade Organisation challenge to Korea’s restrictions imposed on beef sourced from Australia, the USA, New Zealand and Canada. The case was successful and led to the removal of a Korea’s internal barriers to trade.

Fast forward to today and South Korea is our third biggest beef export market – something I am personally very proud of.

In 2002-07 as National Account Manager I developed the MLA relationship with Woolworths – across livestock procurement, processing and promotion. I went from having many exporting contacts to having a few key contacts within the Woolworths’ meat program, and building those relationships for the benefit of the red meat industry.

Over the last 11 years I have enjoyed working again in Asian markets with the livestock export team. It’s been a challenging and dynamic role, working with livestock exporters, importers and their supply chains delivering animal welfare training, capacity building and market access programs across the region. I’ve seen great progress by exporters and their partners in developing their supply chains.

In an era where people are considered long-term if they stay with one employer for four or five years, what kept you turning up every Monday at MLA for 41 years?

I’ve been satisfied to have worked in many varied areas, 12 individual roles across a wide cross section of the AMB/AMLC/MLA. I’ve been fortunate to work in areas that have been topical to the industry and I’ve also been lucky to balance travel and international postings with a growing family. Why change when the challenges kept coming?


Source: MLA


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  1. Chris Rowley, 31/07/2018

    I think the comments from all and sundry neatly sum it up. This is a champion bloke, who championed the meat industry in every role he was given. The years I spent at AMLC / MLA were all the more enjoyable with the opportunity to work with Allister.

  2. David Foote, 31/07/2018

    Good luck on your retirement journey and thanks for your contribution across each of your portfolios to the industry over such a long period

  3. Peter Dundon, 30/07/2018

    Great career Al. Sharon and I have enjoyed working with you and it has been a pleasure to be part of your amazing journey. You’re the king of stakeholder relationships and have served the industry well, both on the meat and livestock sides. We’ll miss you in our team.

  4. Lachlan Bowtell, 30/07/2018

    Al – it was a pleasure to work alongside and with you for many years. You have a depth of knowledge, commitment to industry is rare whilst your integrity within the industry is without peer and something that many aspire to. Time to kick back now mate and enjoy some time with Sue. I am sure your sense of humour and presence at MLA will be missed. Enjoy mate and see you around the traps.

  5. Peter weeks, 30/07/2018

    Well done Allister – the last man standing from the Meat Board days. In typical fashion you downplay the challenging times. As a flexible, go-to and glass-half-full person you have always been there to help and have never forgotten who you serve (the farmers) – hence your great variety of valuable roles in the industry. Hopefully your immense knowledge and experience is not now lost to the industry – but will just be delivered in a different role and one allowing more time for surfing, swimming, travel and bushwalking.

  6. Lisa Paulsen, 30/07/2018

    Congratulations Allister for showcasing the rewards of loyalty to a company you dedicated your working life to. It was such a pleasure to meet you all those years ago in Singapore! Wishing you (andSue) much happiness as you embark on this new stage of your life.

  7. Ian Eustace, 29/07/2018

    Best wishes for your retirement Allister.
    As a one-time AMLC colleague and a long-time meat industry associate, I applaud your legacy to the industry.

  8. John Cooper, 28/07/2018

    A great Career Allister ,it has been a pleasure knowing you and at times working with you on industry bodies. You have truly been a thoughtful member of MLA AMLC AND AMB and they have been fortunate to have you and have placed you in positions which have benefited our industry. Well done and enjoy your retirement.

  9. Dennis Scanlon., 28/07/2018

    Well done, Allister. While our paths crossed many times over the years, the work you did in Korea and Japan consolidating and building a strong confidence in what Australia could supply in quality, healthy product stands very high in your long list of achievements.

    In every aspect of your time in Meat and Livestock, you have given both of those fine industries a great level of credibility, which in some cases, led into the confidence those Asian Companies used to springboard into more direct participation in Australian livestock and meat Production.

  10. Richard Rains, 27/07/2018

    Lugo, you have been a champion of industry for a loooong time & your contributions along the way have been significant & the industry will not be the same without you BUT there always comes a time to move on & enjoy the fruits of your labours. Congratulations on a stellar career. Enjoy your new found freedom.

  11. douglas hurst, 27/07/2018

    Well done Alister , you have truly been an excellent ambassador for the Australian Meat Industry , & given courteous service & assistance to all

  12. Chris Hughes, 27/07/2018

    As a former workmate and current friend I can only express admiration for Allister.The industry has been so fortunate to have him. A conservative and intellegent person who always thought what he was going to say before he said it;a trait most beneficial in the diplomatic roles he often found himself in.
    Quietly conscientious and a significant achiever Allister will be missed as one of the industry go-too people as he has a huge knowledge and was always willing to share it.
    Good retirement Allister – the meat and live export industries owes you a lot!

  13. Tim Ford, 27/07/2018

    Alister thank you for your support and mentorship in the very early stage of my career. Thanks for your wonderful contribution to the red meat industry.

  14. Pat Gunston, 27/07/2018

    All the very best Allister!
    It was my pleasure to work together during my AMLC days and I wish you all the best in your retirement. You have made a wonderful contribution to the industry!
    Kind Regards
    Pat Gunston – Allflex Australia

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