by Chris Tobin
Winning New Zealand’s most prestigious business awards was great, but being recognised by his former school was better, chief executive of global freight and logistics company Mainfreight Don Braid says.
At the end of last year, Mr Braid was named New Zealand’s executive of the decade at the prestigious Deloitte Top 200 Awards and Mainfreight won company of the year.
Last week, Mr Braid was presented with the Teschemaker Cup by the Timaru Boys’ High School Old Boys’ Association.
The cup is presented each year to an old boy achieving national or international prominence in the area of sport, cultural activities, research, business or public affairs.
“I was really humbled and proud when I received the news and it was a little unbelievable,” Mr Braid said at a presentation in front of representatives from the old boys’ association, including its president, former rector Kevin O’Sullivan, present rector David Thorp, senior pupils and several staff members.
“It also ranks ahead of all those other things that have come my way. I can’t put into words why that is.
“Yes, it was nice to be acknowledged from a business point of view by your peers but some of them are pretty funny buggers anyway.
“I’m not sure how they go about it.”
The top executive award was more about the success of the business, he said.
“We’re lucky to have 8600 people around the world who work their butts off to make Mainfreight successful, so those are the people who deserve those awards rather than an individual who just happens to inhabit a desk in an office somewhere.
“For an award that comes from your school means more because it has history and it was where I learnt to become a man, learnt to behave myself and learnt with hard work comes an ability to go on and do stuff. So it means more than those other awards.”
Mr Braid advised the pupils not to think that things had become too hard because of Covid-19.
“Think of what opportunities you can garner from the new world we are entering.
“Bury all the negative media rubbish – a lot of opportunity comes with change.”
Before presenting the cup, Mr O’Sullivan said Mr Braid had 10 tenets as part of his philosophy, three of which he liked. These were working out what you liked and getting excellent at it; being grateful for the good things life had brought and asking: “would your mum approve of what you are doing?”; and making a difference in your neighbourhood, town, country and the world.
Under Mr Braid’s leadership, Mainfreight’s profits increased from $35million in 2010 to $141million at the end of last year, revenue rising from just over $1billion to $3billion.