In the less-than-glamorous application of liquid waste removal, it isn’t every company that would place such an aesthetic focus on their transport fleet. However, it’s a point of pride for Suzanne Magro, co-owner of Adelaide Liquid Waste Solutions (ALWS).
“The first trucks we ever bought had a bright paint scheme but now we get to do what we want with their design,” says Suzanne Magro, co-owner of Adelaide Liquid Waste Solutions.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into the appearance and usability of the fleet. Even though they pump waste, they’re attractive trucks.”
The metallic black paint scheme with vivid blue company logo turns heads around Adelaide, and with the trucks kept sparkling clean, they mirror Suzanne’s attention to detail and care when it comes to how she runs the business and looks after customers.
Like many women involved in a business with the backbone of trucking, Suzanne’s focus on getting down to the grind has proven key to her success. She put in hard yards behind the books before enjoying the freedoms in expression and direction that come with owning a business.
“I like that we have built our own brand, whereas before we took on someone else’s … I’ve always felt that was like an apprenticeship of sorts,” reflects Suzanne of the business journey undertaken with her partner, Ben Harris.
“I worked hard bookkeeping until we were able to purchase our last business, Septic Pumping Services, before we founded Adelaide Liquid Waste Solutions in 2020.”
The Magro family drive
Suzanne has been able to draw on a rich background of heavy vehicle experience to stay ahead in this hotly competitive industry. The taste and talent for transport was born into the Magro family some generations ago.
“I’ve always been around the big machines,” says Suzanne. “When my dad came to Australia in his teens, he was putting septic tanks in – it’s ironic that we’re pumping them out now – he’s 87 years old now and still has 10 trucks.
“My brothers have about 50 trucks between them, and my sister and her husband build semi-trailers.”
Having the guts to give things a go and the drive to move things forward are virtues that Suzanne credits to her father and family. From a female perspective, it’s something that has also helped her succeed in managing her own business in the traditionally male dominated industry of waste collection.
“I learned a lot about standing my ground and try to run the business now with the same work ethics I learned back at the beginning of my career,” Suzanne says.
“I remember working for my dad years ago … he went on leave at one stage, and I was trying to manage the truck drivers, who absolutely wouldn’t have a bar of me.
“I was probably in my early twenties at the time, so I had to learn to deal with those big male personalities and some old-school thinking very quickly.”
Suzanne reflects on how the industry has changed over the recent years, especially when it comes to the role women have in it.
“I think there’s more respect for women in the transport industry now, especially if you stand your ground and expect it of your co-workers – you can see that things are definitely changing with the new generation for the better,” she says.
Smart opportunity maker
Suzanne’s success story took off in 2017, when she and Ben sold their previous liquid waste removal business, Septic Pumping Services, to an international waste giant.
Operating 11 trucks and known as local specialists in that field, selling the company was never the original plan – but they also appreciate that opportunities don’t come knocking every day and signed-off a deal.
However, it wasn’t long before that international operation left Adelaide, leaving a hole in the market. That’s when they returned to the industry with a fresh look and renewed vigour for the business.
With a new fleet of trucks run by a skilled and hardworking team of operators, they managed to make the malodourous task look and feel a bit exciting.
It’s their passion, plus the loyalty and hard work of their staff who have followed them from business to business, that makes ALWS tick.
“I always say that you don’t have to graduate to succeed, you just need hard work and loyalty,” Suzanne says. “I left school at 15 years of age because it just didn’t suit me and started at an accountant’s firm when I was 16.
“I think the most important thing in business is learning everything you can … particularly with our business and our brand, that has been around customer service and treating our staff right.
“If you do right by them, they’ll do right by you.”
For more information, visit: www.isuzu.com.au