This week we say an incredibly sad goodbye to Sue Press who is retiring from Rowe Partners after 36 years’ faithful and dedicated service.
Sue has been with us through thick and thin, through great times and sad times, from the very start when we were Inglis & Rowe in Port Augusta. She’s even been with us through a pandemic! Her love for her work, her high regard for our clients and her colleagues has shone through every day. We respect and admire her and will miss her greatly.
We asked Sue to look back and help us capture and share more of her Rowe Partners story. It’s a great read. Please also take a moment to watch the little video we put together too about Sue's time and career with us.
As the CBSS Manager, Sue has worked mainly with our clients in Indigenous Communities and other Not-for-Profits in administration, payroll, bookkeeping, accounting and as a supervisor.
As you’d expect, we’ve been part of Sue’s life and she’s been part of ours. She’s seen the nature of work in our industry change over the years as well as the way we work, technology, options for working women, flexibility in the workplace and improved career opportunities. Sue has seized and embraced every professional opportunity within our business. She’s helped to grow those opportunities and carve a path for women in our business.
Over the years, as a busy working mum, we’ve seen her raise a beautiful family. Back in the day, childcare wasn’t an option so once the kids were off to school she came back to work. Juggling sick kids was harder back then too.
During the time that Sue has worked with the business, we’ve grown from 5 staff in one office to over 40 across 4 sites. Sue has worked with clients in the Riverland, Mt Gambier, Coober Pedy, Flinders Ranges, Ceduna, and Far West & Northern SA. Sue has been mentored by Peter and Jenny Rowe, Robert McDonald and Chad McKnight and she’s been a mentor to many staff along the way too.
Early Days (1984-1995)
Sue started working with the company as a cleaner under Partner Peter Rowe and Jenny Rowe, Office Manager (Sue’s sister). Her hatred of cleaning inspired her to go on to bigger and better things in general office work (reception, typing and administration). She has worked with many wonderful people over the years but has worked most closely with Jenny, Marnie, Sue Whiting and Sylvia Hartman.
Sue once typed non-stop for 2 days on a manual typewriter.
Tax returns all had to be typed and duplicated with carbon paper and could take up to 3 months to come back.
All payments from the ATO were in the form of cheques and distributed from a Trust Account (the team once wrote 200 hundred refund cheques in one day!)
Deductions were processed manually and cheques had to be written and sent by 3pm every day.
Working 50 plus hour weeks, nights and weekends was commonplace during tax season.
When the office got its’ first computer in 1987, there was only one and everyone wanted to use it so they had to set up a booking system.
Middle years (1995-2009)
Robert McDonald became Partner and Sue moved into bookkeeping and then management of the Indigenous Not-For-Profit bookkeeping and accounting area. Sue and Robert established and grew this side of the Rowe Partners business doing many site visits to clients in remote South Australian communities. During these years Sue worked mainly with Chad (who became Partner in 1999), Jenny, Marnie, Marcia, Kacey, Cheryl, Sylvia, and Pam.
Sue says she thinks that Robert thought she drove too fast.
Sue hit an eagle on one of these trips!
Sue and Robert worked in the car all the way to where we were going. If Robert drove, she had to make notes for him (She says she doesn't think he could read them though as some of the roads were rough).
Later years (2009-2020)
Sue was appointed to the role of Bookkeeping Manager in 2009, a role she job shared with Marnie Smith. They’ve developed a great working relationship and wonderful friendship over the years. We’re sure that though they’ll miss each other at work, they’ll be in each other’s lives forever. At this point, Sue also started doing solo trips to clients in remote communities. Over the past 9 years, Sue has worked most closely with Chad.
The longest trip away was 2000 klms return – most times she flew to and from by light aircraft but there was the occasional road trip. On one trip, she was injured at the Oak Valley Airstrip and had to be carried on and off the plane.
Sue has seen and had to adapt many times to changes in the way we work from manual systems to working in the cloud, and new tech that facilitated the ability to work from home during COVID.
In the early years, clients provided everything by mail, then fax, then e-mails, now it’s all directly uploaded via computer.
Best thing about working at Rowe Partners?
Sue really values the clients she worked with in Indigenous Communities. Working with them has been enriching and rewarding. It has been a privilege to share in their history, see their families grow, listening to stories of the old days. She specifically wants to acknowledge and thank them all for their friendship and support over many years.
Great team environment – great CBBS Team/Chad and Robert.
Age has never been a problem or a limitation at Rowe Partners.
She's always enjoyed and appreciated the respect she's received from her colleagues.
Enjoyed working with younger staff and learning from each other.
The work is always interesting, varied and dynamic.
Greatest professional achievement?
Successfully reconstructing archaic Not-For-Profit accounting and payroll systems and processes.
Most frightening thing about working at Rowe Partners?
Once on an outback trip, the plane Sue was travelling on had to make an emergency landing at Maralinga Airstrip as the door came open while they were up in the air!
The biggest challenge?
Changes in IT over the years.
Overcoming the health challenge of a brain bleed 9 years ago.
What are you most thankful for?
Support of husband Barry as he has been Sue's driver when going away on long trips and looked after the family during tax seasons when she was working long hours.
What are you looking forward to most in retirement?
Sue was planning another trip to Europe, but with COVID that’s be been put on hold.
Travel in Australia when safe.
Sue is from a large family (9) so she'll spend more time and travel with them.
Some volunteer work.
Run grandkids around, take over from Barry.
Thanks again for everything Sue. We'll miss you but Chad says that if you get bored, you can always go back to cleaning work you loved so much. There might be a regular cleaning gig going at his house!