We cover off on a lot of ASX small cap stocks here at Stockhead, but rarely do we focus on the humans behind the headlines — so we reached out to five CEOs and managing directors to try and remedy that.

We sent five ASX-listed company leaders questions about the first job they ever had, whether that’s standing behind a fryer at the local fish and chip shop, working in a warehouse (my after-school job), or slinging java to bleary-eyed customers.

On the line this week are:

  • Mike Young: Vimy Resources (ASX:VMY)
  • Bronwyn Barnes: A swag of ASX-listed companies including Mod Resources (ASX:MOD)
  • Vincent Algar: Australian Vanadium Limited (ASX:AVL)
  • Glenn Smith: Novita Healthcare (ASX:NHL) and;
  • Haggai Alon: Security Matters (ASX:SMX)

Mike Young, CEO of Vimy Resources

Stockhead: So, what was your first job?

Mike: The best job I had was a summer in the Canadian Army Reserve’s Princess of Wales Own Regiment (21 Bn) – we did basic training and then advanced infantry training. I was an excellent marksman and was encouraged to take up sniper training, a lot of which involved bushcraft and survival skills. This latter has been quite useful lately in running a uranium company!

Stockhead: How did you get that job?

Mike: I was at a loss as what to do for the summer and my Mom suggested it. We have a deep military history in our family including my Dad and uncles who were in the Navy and grandfathers who served in both world wars.

Stockhead: Describe a typical day in that job

Mike: It would involve running, physical training, weapons training, field craft. A lot of variety.

Stockhead: What was the biggest thing you learned from that job?

Mike: The absolute requirement of teamwork and trust

Stockhead: What would you like to be doing if you weren’t doing your current job?

Mike: I would be the manager of a professional cycling team
 

Bronwyn Barnes, director at various ASX companies

Stockhead: So, what was your first job?

Bronwyn: I was a florist

Stockhead: How did you get that job?

Bronwyn: A friend of my father’s owned the shop

Stockhead: Describe a typical day in that job

Bronwyn: I would sweep floors, trim roses, deliver flowers on foot in the CBD, and do general customer service

Stockhead: What was the biggest thing you learned from that job?

Bronwyn: I liked the variety, and having a job where I could do lots of different activities in a day

Stockhead: What would you like to be doing if you weren’t doing your current job?

Bronwyn: I would be translating medieval French manuscripts
 

Vincent Algar, managing director of Australian Vanadium Limited

Stockhead: So, what was your first job?

Vincent: I was an exploration field assistant, South African Diamond exploration for African Selection Trust

Stockhead: How did you get that job?

Vincent: My uncle was the exploration manager

Stockhead: Describe a typical day in that job

Vincent: Early start, breakfast, based in old farm house. Travel to field with exploration crew and walk lines doing hand held magnetometer or gravity measurements. Home to process data and cook and talk over fire. I was still 17 just finished school.

Stockhead: What was the biggest thing you learned from that job?

Vincent: That I loved geology and wanted to study it. Until then I had other ideas.

Stockhead: Other ideas? So what would you be doing if you weren’t doing your current job?

Vincent I’d probably have got into programming
 

Glenn Smith, managing director of Novita Healthcare

Stockhead: So, what was your first job?

Glenn: I did a cleaning job when I was 13 years old at a trades plumbing supplies business, and that was an after-school thing. I did a whole bunch of jobs including being a newspaper boy, I’ve worked in bars and clubs as well before going to uni.

Stockhead: What was the biggest thing you learned from those early jobs?

Glenn: You’ve got to turn up, and people respect that if you do it time and time again. Then, do the job right and you’ll get the rewards, and then you’ll get the recognition and people will recommend you for other jobs as well. The first job got me connected to the next job, and so on and so on.

Stockhead: So what would you be doing if you weren’t doing what you were doing right now?

Glenn: I’m a qualified wine-maker, about eight years ago I went back and did a masters in viticulture and enology and became a qualified winemaker. That’s a passion I have, and I make wine in my spare time, so I think I would be making wine, eating cheese and eating bread, and sitting out in the sun somewhere.
 

Haggai Alon, CEO of Security Matters

Stockhead: So, what was your first job?

Haggai: I worked in an irrigation pipe factory

Stockhead: How did you get that job?

Haggai: It was hard, I had to work on packaging of the pipes to get the job!

Stockhead: Describe a typical day in that job

Haggai: It was night shifts only, hours and hours of pipes manufacturing – counting the holes of water and QA testing

Stockhead: What was the biggest thing you learned from that job?

Haggai: I learned about taking responsibility, and that big money comes from manufacturing kilometres of pipe. I also learned that very small changes to the process can lead to big changes on the product, so I needed to be disciplined.

Stockhead: What would you like to be doing if you weren’t doing your current job?

Haggai: I would be a school headmaster