Gilbert Ullrich – managing director, Ullrich Aluminium Co. and Ullrich Exports

There has always been family component to business travel for Gilbert Ullrich. He and his brother often went on business trips together. Then when he married Debbie 11 years ago, she began to go with him. They both liked travel and he liked the company. “She is considerable asset and if we stayed some time in one place then we took an apartment and I would go home there each night – much nicer than hotel.” They were often away for several weeks, three or four times year. The birth of their first child, Ernest Junior, year later simply added one more to the party, and made him the youngest member of Air New Zealand’s Koru Club. When Conrad was born, he came too. As Gilbert says, he had lot of air points, they were travelling mostly round the Pacific, and it was no problem with small children. “I think my business peers were quite envious that I could mix business with pleasure and family.” But after the first five years, Ernest Jr was ready for school, there was new baby, Erica, and Gilbert’s business was taking him to places and conditions he did not feel were always child or woman friendly – Chad, Cameroon, Kenya, East Timor, Brazil, Columbia, India and the Middle East. These days their principal contact during business trips is the telephone; and his wife always has someone to stay. “I’ve given them an atlas so they can see where I am and to help with geography and history, my favourite subjects, and Pacific affairs. I hope it gives them wider outlook than most children.” He is following family tradition here. Gilbert’s father was ship’s engineer, often away at sea for long time, who broadened his son’s horizons with stories of where he had been. Gilbert was the only kid on his block to know where Pago Pago is in Samoa.
“We still go away as family twice year, mainly to Australia – they’re really trans-Tasman children. It ensures they’re bilingual,” he grins. “We also go to Samoa, New Caledonia, wherever we can get an apartmente it’s got to have swimming pool for the kids. They love it. I take some holidays at the same time. For instance when the family was with me in Hawaii we took side trip to Disneyland. I work six days week, 15 hours day and I have lots of extra curricular commitments too. I make it up to the children by going away with them, getting to know them. I must have family life too.”

Visited 173 times, 1 visit(s) today

A focus on culture

Rabobank’s 520-plus New Zealand employees work from 27 locations – places like Ashburton, Pukekohe and Feilding and from a purpose-built head office in Hamilton. Its employees are proud of the

Read More »
Close Search Window