Driving the Chamber's future

BUSINESS: Whyalla Chamber of Commerce President Malcolm McLeod has owned McLeods Whyalla Automotive for 25 years.
BUSINESS: Whyalla Chamber of Commerce President Malcolm McLeod has owned McLeods Whyalla Automotive for 25 years.

Well-known local businessman Malcolm McLeod has stepped up to lead the Whyalla Chamber of Commerce during one of the most uncertain times for the community.

Mr McLeod, who owns McLeod's Whyalla Automotive, is seeking to continue the chamber's duty of shining a spotlight on businesses that are excelling in their field.

He replaced Alexander Motor Inn Owner Craig Swingler as the President of the Chamber after Mr Swingler stepped down in April to focus on his business and family.

A business owner for 25 years, this is Mr McLeod's second time as president of the Chamber, having led the group in the late 90's.

Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased, the Chamber have scheduled two networking functions, the first to feature Liberty Primary Steel Executive Managing Director Jason Schell, and the next to be held at the University of South Australia Whyalla Campus.

"It's not just about networking, it's about building relationships," Mr McLeod said.

"When businesspeople get to socialise and break down the barriers together, I believe that next time you're looking for a purchase you know a local business might do you're more inclined to talk to them than just get a quote."

Because of coronavirus Mr McLeod said a number of businesses that had been deemed 'essential services', including his own, had been forced to put their staff on three-day rosters.

"Employees are paid for three days then you take one annual leave and one without pay - that saved a lot of businesses," he said.

Mr McLeod said while there was 'no doubt' that the federal government's JobKeeper payments had helped a lot of businesses 'get over the line'.

"The big concern is, what do we do in October or even September if it's restructured or reduced, so we're not out of the woods yet," he said.

"A lot of businesses have been under a bit of pressure with paying their bills and creditors, I think in that regard it's important to keep communications open if you owe someone money."

Mr McLeod stressed the importance of Whyalla businesses securing 'their share of the work' when it came to projects in the regions.

"We can't just rely on the steelworks and the steelworks only, they really need to be getting 50 per cent of their work from other industries."