Klemen started working at Southern Cross Horticulture (SCH) in April 2014. Originally from Slovenia in Central Europe, Klemen decided to go travelling and came to New Zealand (NZ) for a working holiday. Klemen is now a permanent resident and resides here in Tauranga with his family. Throughout his time at SCH, Klemen has been involved in a range of business units. Klemen started working at SCH as a backpacker, picking during the kiwifruit harvest season. He then stayed on for winter pruning and worked in the nursery grafting. By the end of year, he moved into construction and worked on putting hail covers up at Bayview orchard. Klemen also worked as a machinery operator for a season, carrying out management tasks such as mowing and weed spraying. In June 2018, Klemen took on the role of Construction Manager and was in this role until he moved into his current role of Commercial Manager in June 2020.
While at SCH Klemen has learnt “people in the SCH team appreciate your skill set regardless of who you are, where you come from, and what your first language is. If you are willing to take on some extra work and responsibility, SCH will give you the opportunity to further your career”. Klemen acquired a range of skills and learnings while managing the construction team, the largest team he has ever managed and enjoyed seeing the personal growth and skill level develop within the team. Klemen has enhanced lives while at SCH through being involved in SCH community initiatives with Impac Tauranga, a non-profit organisation to support youth and families in the Tauranga community. Klemen has also provided pastoral care to backpackers through helping them settle in and providing support with visa applications.
Klemen describes the SCH culture as a company that lives out their mission, purpose, and values through actions rather than just being words. He describes SCH as an environment which is focused on quality work, accountability, continuous improvement, and likes the fact SCH recognises team members going the extra mile.
Klemen loves working at SCH because of the trust the team have in each other and the mission behind the purpose of SCH. Klemen explains whilst working at SCH for seven years he feels privileged to “be part of the success story; the vision, journey, and leadership of the company”. “I appreciate living in NZ and the opportunities more than those who were born and raised here”. What is something that other employees at SCH will not know about Klemen? Klemen and his wife are currently expecting their second child. His interests include playing chess and collecting silver coins.
From starting out as a backpacker to now a Manager on the Executive Team, Klemen’s dedication to creating world class orchards over the years has not gone unnoticed. Ka pai Klemen and thank you for your commitment to SCH.