By GYNNIE KERO
STAN Joyce says it took him nearly 25 years to achieve his dream – becoming managing director of South Pacific (SP) Brewery.
He had arrived in the country as a 20-year-old from Sydney. His boss had sent him to Port Moresby at the end of 1980 to work for Evercrisp Snacks which makes Twisties.
It was his first job in PNG, working as a production manager in the factory. That, however, wasn’t what he wanted.
“When I first came to Papua New Guinea I met this guy, Bruce Flynn,” Joyce recalled.
“I met him when I was 20 and he was 50 something … big gap, but he (Flynn) was the managing director of SP Brewery. And I always thought to myself… that was a good job (managing director). I wonder if I will be him one day.
“I told my friends (about my dream to be managing director of SP Brewery) and they all laughed.
“Yu mangi nating ya, wanem tingting blo yu (You’re just a kid. What are you thinking)?’’
But he worked and got the job.
“Make a plan and go get it,” Joyce said. “Don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t. Be realistic, it might take you some time. It took me from 20 to when I was nearly 45 to achieve that objective.
“A lot of people want to be a boss in five years, well that’s not going to happen.
Sipping his coffee at his SP Brewery office during the interview, Joyce recalled his early days in the country.
A lot has changed.
“In those days, you put out the table and money, no need for security.
“Very different times.
“The minute I got here, I thought, yeah, I like this place. It seemed a bit scary.
“I lived at Gordon, rascals broke into my house so I then moved to the end of Ela Motors, Badili. That’s probably where I found out a lot about PNG. You’re young, free, a house to yourself, plenty of friends…the social life was very good.”
SP Brewery had started in 1952. In those days, the company had Pepsi soft drink, Daisy Milk, Nambawan juices and beer.
Employing 2,000 people and 68 expatriates, SP Brewery’s efforts at that time was on a wider range of products,
Over time, the brewery had come up with a number of products. One was the recently-launched cassava drink.
The drink is brewed using 70 per cent cassava and 30 per cent barley.
“The cassava drink is my pride and joy,” Joyce said.
There were three things he was proud to have achieved during his 24 years at SP Brewery:
- Cassava drink. ‘’We stuck with it over the years. We grow the cassava in Lae which is going to be done a lot more by small holders. We’re really doing something that will benefit the grassroots in the country;
- The SP Hunters Rugby League team, to be able to work with a group of people who represent PNG; and
- “And as I walk out the door next Saturday (tomorrow), I will leave behind a family, PNG employees. They know who they are.
“When I came here, the brewery was run by expats, now there are Papua New Guineans. I’m proud of them.”
The main challenges Joyce faced there was a liquor ban or no foreign currency to run the business with.
That was difficult.
Tomorrow affable Joyce, one of the best known faces in Port Moresby, will walk out of the SP Brewery but he will remain in the country, leading a different life.
He’s on the board of some companies – chairman of Mainland Holdings, chairman of CPL (City Pharmacy Ltd) and Westpac Bank among others.
“I’ve got plenty of things to do.”
The one thing he would like to see happen after he leaves the brewery is a genuine partnership with the Government to promote responsible consumption.
Joyce has been actively involved in the PNG business and sports circles. He was on the board of the 2015 Pacific Games Authority, PNG Business Council, PNG Manufacturers’ Council, Mainland Holdings Ltd, the Solomon Island Brewery Ltd and the South Pacific Brewery Ltd.
Joyce has more than 30 years’ experience in the food, beverage and manufacturing industries both in PNG and aboard. He has been the managing director for SP Brewery, a part of the Heineken Company since 2007, half his time brewery.