SPC head to speak at Fairley Foundation lecture

By Ashlea Witoslawski

To celebrate the centenary year of SPC’s operations, Coca-Cola Amatil group managing director Alison Watkins will be keynote speaker at the annual Fairley Foundation La Trobe Lecture in Shepparton on July 18.

For more than a decade, the Fairley Foundation has partnered with La Trobe University to host a free public lecture from a prominent Australian.

Fairley Foundation chief executive Cheryl Hammer said the lectures brought quality speakers with a connection to the area.

‘‘We thought (Alison) would be appropriate because SPC is an iconic manufacturer and this is a milestone year for them,’’ Ms Hammer said.

‘‘She will show the human face of manufacturing.

‘‘There is sometimes a feeling or perception that manufacturing is on its way out or struggling, and it’s actually not true.

‘‘SPC has turned their fortunes around and Alison will be touching on that and its importance in the region.’’

Ms Watkins will discuss the changes in consumer demands and the impact that has on businesses such as SPC and Coca-Cola Amatil.

‘‘Of course this year is the centenary of SPC — Australia’s oldest and most successful fruit processor — so we’ll take some time to celebrate that history and the role of Sir Andrew Fairley, who was instrumental in the company’s early days,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ll also look at some changes in consumer trends, the current emphasis on ‘fresher, healthier and now’ and what it means for business.’’

Ms Watkins said the future was exciting and unpredictable for Coca-Cola Amatil and SPC.

‘‘Both have a very long history of identifying and succeeding in new markets,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s impossible to predict where consumer trends will lead us in another hundred years, but I’m pretty confident we’ll both still be here as strong and much-loved providers in Australian food and beverages.’’

The Fairley Foundation La Trobe Lecture is on Wednesday, July 18 from 6.30pm to 8pm at La Trobe University, 210 Fryers St, Shepparton.

The event is free, but due to high demand, audience members must register their attendance at