Chook sale sparks commercial career for rising star Ahrens

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When teenage entrepreneur Aaron Bain sold three chickens to the family of Ahrens Group CEO Stefan Ahrens in 2010, he had no idea what impact the reunion would have on his business career.

Bain began working for the Ahrens Group shortly thereafter and now runs a major division of the large, diversified national steel and construction company based in South Africa.

“I came straight out of school and was one day a week for the last three months of grade 12,” says the 28-year-old.

“I sold three chooks to Stefan’s wife and kids and we had a chat when we made the deal and one thing led to another and I spoke to Stefan 48 hours later and I think I I started 10 days later, so it was entrepreneurial from the start. “

Bain was announced last night as the 2021 recipient of the Colin J Peters AM Memorial Award under the Industry Leaders Fund (ILF) program.

The award was initiated by the family of the former managing director of Castalloy who was also one of the founders of the ILF. It recognizes a business leader who has made the biggest difference in creating jobs and wealth in South Australia.

Bain’s award includes a $ 21,000 scholarship to undertake further study and he plans to use it to complete an advanced management program from Melbourne Business School next year.

“I came straight out of school and integrated a work environment and grew up with the company, but never had any form of external training,” he said.

“I don’t regret it for a minute, because I’m a big advocate of learning by doing, but I think there is a different dimension that I can bring to my leadership through some external platforms that I didn’t have. not yet been able to do outside work. “

Bain became director of operations at the Ahrens Kingsford plant north of Gawler at the age of 21 and now runs the group’s silo and hangar operations nationwide.

Outside of work he is passionate about harness racing with over 100 horses across Australia and a training base in Gawler.

He has recently ventured into thoroughbred racing and plans to start training racehorses with the help of a newly appointed foreman from November 1.

“I started off with three chooks and got down to 300, then I ventured into three horses and we’re heading towards 300, so the chooks turned into horses,” Bain jokes.

The participation of the community is taken into account in the judgment of the ILF.

Bain is one of the four directors of the Carnival of Cups, a non-profit organization promoting the racing industry in the Gawler community.

The group will host their first Gawler Carnival of Cups racing festival October 15-24, including the harness, greyhound and thoroughbred editions of the Gawler Cup.

The ILF aims to help current and future SA business leaders realize their full potential through professional scholarships.

This year’s 39 fellows received grants of a combined value of $ 514,000, surpassing the ILF’s annual total for its 12-year history, with 15 women among the successful applicants.

Other recipients included:

  • Christie bailey, director of the architectural firm Brown Falconer
  • Tamara Leclercq, Senior Project Officer at SAHMRI City of Adelaide BioMed Innovation District
  • Chad Elson, CEO of Barossa Valley Gibson Wines
  • Bianca Hoffman, Marketing Manager at Phil Hoffman Travel

ILF, a non-governmental organization, is privately funded and has been operating since 2010 when it transitioned from a state-based apprenticeship training program.

2021 Fellows will participate in programs offered by Harvard Business School, INSEAD Singapore, IESE Business School, Said Business School Oxford, Melbourne Business School, University of Adelaide, Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of South Australia, MIT, Shinka Management and the Australian Institute of Corporate Directors.

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