ELDERS' WA commercial sheep manager Dean Hubbard has been appointed State manager of its wool division.
It is understood to be the first time Elders has placed the same person in charge of both its WA commercial sheep and wool divisions.
Mr Hubbard, 56, has been Elders' WA commercial sheep manager since April, 2016 and is its main sheep auctioneer at the Muchea saleyards.
In taking on the wool manager role he replaces Danny Burkett who resigned after 20 years with Elders in late June, citing personal reasons.
Elders advertised nationwide for a wool manager before west zone general manager James Cornish appointed Mr Hubbard, who has been in the agricultural services industry in the Wheatbelt for more than 40 years, working mostly as a livestock agent and auctioneer.
Speaking from Melbourne on Tuesday where he was watching open-cry wool auctions at Australian Wool Exchange's main Brooklyn selling centre, Mr Hubbard confirmed that while there had been a "focus on sheep" in his career, he has never auctioned wool before.
"I've auctioned sheep and cattle, real estate and I've conducted clearing sales, but I've never auctioned wool," Mr Hubbard said.
He admitted it might take an adjustment period switching from watching for nods and hand-signal bids at sheep auctions to identifying voice calls in the sale room at the Western Wool Centre (WWC).
"I hope they (wool buyers) give me a honeymoon period," Mr Hubbard said.
"Initially I'll be standing beside Tony (Elders wool area manager and auctioneer Tony Alosi) to learn the voices and I'll have a good clerk alongside me who knows them.
"While I have a lot to learn, I'll have a good team with me (of five wool specialists and Heather Steel as sales support at Elders' office and show floor in the same building as the WWC).
"We will be dealing with many of the same clients (for livestock sales and wool sales) and we are all part of the same tight-knit, well-functioning network, so I think it's a comfortable fit (heading both divisions)," he said.
Mr Hubbard, who is also a level one professional assessor for AuctionsPlus and has conducted electronic sheep auctions on that platform, said he planned to continue auctioning sheep and lambs at Muchea on Tuesdays.
"I'll be at Muchea on Tuesdays and at Spearwood (WWC) on Wednesdays and Thursdays for wool auctions at this stage," he said.
Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Mr Hubbard came to Australia with his family as a teenager in 1976.
In 1978 he joined Wesfarmers' Katanning branch as a 16-year-old trainee.
"I had no experience on farms or with animals, nothing like that at all - my dad had a pub, but I was lucky enough to be taken on as a trainee," he said.
He worked for Wesfarmers for 23 years before joining Elders.
During his career Mr Hubbard has been an agent at Geraldton, Moora, Dandaragan, Dalwallinu, Katanning, Gnowangerup, Merredin, Bruce Rock and Narembeen before coming to Elders' Midvale branch in Perth.
He and wife Robyn are keen international travellers, having visited Mongolia and crossed Russia on the trans Siberian railway and three years ago they walked the Camino Way in Spain.
Mr Hubbard said he still "runs slowly four or five days a week" and is in his 15th season as a field umpire with the West Australian Country Football League umpiring in the Eastern Districts League.
"The league goes out as far as Southern Cross, but I only go out as far as Bruce Rock, Narembeen, Corrigin, Kulin/Kondinin umpiring because that's as far as I can get out and back in the one day.
"I've umpired at a few Country Weeks as well," he said.
In his younger days Mr Hubbard played soccer at Geraldton and Australian rules football for Dalwallinu for seven years.