Jay Wilkinson is proof that a professional rugby career can set you up with an incredible working career.
Jay has just been appointed as the new operations manager for New Zealand’s leading analytical testing laboratory, Hill Laboratories.
Looking after South Island and Auckland, it’s the first time Hill Laboratories has employed a ‘non-scientist’ in the role, the company instead finding Jay’s strong background in operations and logistics more appealing.
“I’m all about achieving time lines. I make things happen and bring an element of speed and efficiency to ensure a quick turnaround. Ensuring operational efficiencies continue to make Hill Laboratories number one is my priority,” he says.
From Tarankai, Jay has planning qualifications and became a chef through the army before deciding to make a career as a professional rugby player.
“I spent two years in Sydney playing rugby for Manly. I was also working part-time in logistics while playing rugby, and the company I was working for asked me to fill in for a couple of management roles. That’s really when my management career started,” he explains.
Jay had spells in Amsterdam and London playing rugby and also worked in a senior operations role at Gatwick Airport, the busiest single runway airport in the world.
“When I came back to New Zealand I was originally employed as a project engineer as part of the Christchurch rebuild, and soon shifted into different management roles within KiwiRail.
“Now I’m working for Hill Laboratories, which is really exciting and I’m happy to be working with a company built on family values – that’s what I’m all about,” he says.
“Gatwick made me into the operations manager I am today. Now I can bring those skills gained from overseas back to New Zealand,” he adds.
Hill Laboratories is a 100 percent privately owned New Zealand analytical testing laboratory and has three major testing areas: agriculture, environmental and food.
With its head office in Hamilton, Hill Laboratories currently has five sites in the North Island, and two in the South Island.
The company will soon consolidate its four Hamilton sites into one city location: what was formerly a New Zealand Post building on Duke Street in Frankton.