David Kassulke clearly remembers the day the AJ Bush factory went up in smoke.
“On the 16th of June 2001 at noon this factory burned to the ground, but the factory was completely put together and functioning again within 12 months,” he said.
“I said, ‘we’re going to reopen this factory less than one year on’, and there was an official opening on the 15th of June 2002 – one day short of a year.”
David, who prides himself on being a man of his word, applies that same dogged determination to everything he sets his mind to.
David doesn’t have much downtime.
He manages the AJ Bush & Sons rendering facility at Bromelton, which has 75 full time equivalent staff, and has spent 40 years working for the company.
He and his wife Annette run Kay Tent Cee Trust, a Queensland cattle brand registered by his grandfather Colin in 1933, and have about 800 breeders.
He is into his fifth year as president of Beaudesert Chamber of Commerce (he was also president of the Junior Chamber in 2000) and is pushing for a local PCYC as vice-president of the Youth and Community Centre (YACC) committee.
“It’s good to be active. You don’t want to think, ‘in my next life I’m going to do this or that’ – you want to go out all guns blazing,” he said.
The roots of the Kassulke family run deep in the district.
David, 62, moved from Camp Hill to Bromelton in 1994, but his family connections in the district date back to the 1870s.
His father Brian Kassulke grew up here, and his grandfather Colin brought his family to Beaudesert in 1933 to run the Railway Hotel, which stayed in the family until 1991.
Now he and wife Annette – who met on 4 March 1983, were engaged in July and married on the 7 January 1984 – have put down their own roots locally.
Their three kids Erin, Emma and Owen are all in their 30s and David speaks proudly of Annette’s career in nursing and her key role at Wongaburra.
“Marrying Annette was the best thing I ever did – it made us a team,” he said.
David counts AJ Bush’s son – Mr AV Bush – as one of his greatest inspirations in life.
“He was a visionary – that family started as a retail butcher shop and they say Mr Bush led the first vertically integrated business in the meat industry,” he said.
“They started in 1911 as meat retailers then sausage makers then continued to where we are now. And AV Bush employed my father.”
David’s strong connections to the Bush family span his entire adult life and he’s travelled abroad professionally nearly 40 times to ensure the company remains a global leader.
“I told them I’m available for adoption, but I haven’t had any bites just yet,” he jokes.