Phil McKendry, Chairman of Ashburton Trading Society (ATS), pictured, was presented with the inaugural Outstanding Co-operative Contribution award in Wellington in August 2016. Cooperative Business NZ Chief Executive, Craig Presland, met Phil McKendry during a visit to NZ’s “co-op capital”, Ashburton, in June 2016 and was instantly inspired by this true champion of the co-operative business model.
“When I first met Phil he explained to me why he is driven to lead a rural co-operative (Ashburton Trading Society) that, since 1963, has worked hard to lower the cost of farm suppliers, fertilizer, fuel and electricity within the Mid-Canterbury region. His reasoning was simply: ‘Because Everyone Deserves It’.”
In keeping with the true co-operative spirit, Phil McKendry has been a Member of the Ashburton Trading Society (ATS) for 23 years. He was appointed to the Board in 1998, the last five years as Chairman.
“His nomination reflected many of the good things about the co-operative business model and the high esteem in which he is held by colleagues,” says Craig.
“Phil has developed a Board that works collaboratively in making decisions that ensure long-term, sustainable success while nurturing the next level of co-operative leadership. Phil has ensured ATS’s shareholders were at the heart of all decisions that were made and helped develop a co-operative spirit and culture that has become a key factor in attracting staff and customers to ATS.
“Phil has been instrumental in leading strong community investment and social responsibility as an employer and key service provider locally”.
Craig says Phil, as the inaugural recipient of this award, has set a high bar for the category which “is to recognise an individual that over the long-term (10 plus years) has demonstrated either a significant contribution to the success of the cooperative model for a Cooperative Business NZ Member organisation or toward the wider co-operative sector overall. “
“This award is not intended to just recognise long service, it is to recognise significant contributions made to developing a Member’s co-operative model (and) to the broader co-operative movement here in New Zealand.”
This is what the ATS team had to say about Phil McKendry:
• Phil holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) degree from Lincoln University and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors.
• Former founding Chairman of Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation Ltd, he has had a long involvement in community irrigation development. He is also currently a Director of Electricity Ashburton Limited.
• Phil and his wife Judith farm a 200ha arable property near Methven. When not supporting their three teenagers in their academic, sporting and cultural activities, Phil enjoys running, skiing, reading and following sport.