FSAA Hall of Fame Alumni

Andrew Fechner

andrew fechnerInducted 2014

Most people have their bad days in life.  If you can survive a cyclone sitting in your eight tonne truck on Christmas day, you can probably get through most things.  Which is why it takes a lot to faze Andy Fechner.

During cyclone Tracy in 1974- the worst cyclone in Australia’s recent history – which caused 66 deaths and resulted in the evacuation of most of the women and children in the largest civilian airlift yet – Andy and his family sheltered in the truck for five hours while their home and most of the city was destroyed.

Andy had transferred to Darwin at the end of 1971and spent three years in this somewhat frontier’ city with his wife, Laurel and two sons, Colin and Steven.

After the cyclone, he stayed on in Darwin to secure his company’s business interests and was reunited with his family four months later.

Small wonder that his philosophy for success has always been to accept responsibility and show the right attitude.  (If you make a promise – keep it) and try to make a difference by getting involved and being honest, with yourself and others.

After finishing senior high school on the Gold Coast, he began his working life in sales with a company called Tickles, which specialised in cash van sales/distribution.

Andy became an Associate Fellow of the Catering Institute of Australia in 1976.

In 1975, Andy took an opportunity to work in the fledging foodservice industry, where he would be based in Brisbane. Over the next 11 years, he was promoted within his company, successfully completed an external university course and was a partner in his own foodservice management business for three years before returning to the corporate fold in 1986, joining Manettas in 1992.

He was the sales and marketing manager for Queensland when Bidvest bought the company in 1995 in its first foray out of South Africa.

With Ken Bielby [ex MD for Australia] Andy was a key member of the team which was responsible for the establishment and development of Bidvest in Australia.

He filled various roles in the Australian business; including national marketing and national purchasing manager before being appointed as director of purchasing and marketing in May 2005.

Andy was involved in the integration of numerous acquisitions, the largest being John Lewis & Company in 2000.  His relationships with suppliers during these growth years has been pivotal in developing Bidvest into Australia’s largest foodservice wholesale distribution business.