Vic Koller, Maintenance Manager
Started at OB in 1994
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Born and educated near Zuerich, Switzerland, I arrived in Christchurch with my fiancée Yvonne in 1973 for a 2 year working holiday.
I worked in the engineering sector in Christchurch for the next seven years. The following 5 years Yvonne and I manufactured cane furniture for 3 Christchurch retail stores. And then in 1985 we finally ended up in the Sounds - that had been our dream for many years.
Life got even better when our son Steven was born in 1989. Apart from spotting Yvonne at a dance, that was the best day in my life. And then in 1994 after working in a Havelock boatyard for a few years I managed to get the maintenance managers job at OB that turned out to be my absolute dream job. Oooops… our 2 year working holiday turned into a slightly longer holiday…haha
What did you know about Outward Bound before you started?
Not much at all. I just read up on the history of OB while preparing for the maintenance manager’s job interview.
What is your role at OB? Have you always had that role?
Preventative Maintenance on infrastructure, buildings, boats, trucks, wastewater treatment and drinking water treatment and associated compliance.
My favourite job is project management and I have been lucky to be involved with the following projects:
- Manmade wetland for last stage wastewater treatment.
- Move old Mc Kenzie/Batten watch house to new locations and turn them into training rooms.
- Built new McKenzie/Batten watch house
- Upgrade kitchen and extend rations room.
- Upgrade Blocks 1 and 3
- Turn the old visitor centre into nurse’s clinic and meeting room.
- Built new fixed jetty at Anakiwa.
- Built new floating jetty at TK
- Built 3 new eco lodges
- Upgrade TK buildings – a lot of that work was done by volunteers managed by Marg Robinson
- Upgrade Deep Creek buildings – again most of the work done by volunteers managed by Marg Robinson
- 6 new buses
- New Huria/Blake watch house.
- Moving weatherboard house by 40m
How many years have you been working for Outward Bound? Do you have any other family members who have worked for OB?
I started in 1994 which makes it 26 years, Yvonne my wife also started work at OB in 1994 and left 6 years later to work as practice manager at the Havelock medical centre.
Why have you stayed with OB for so long?
The positive energy coming from instructors and the management team in pursuit of delivering outstanding courses that students will remember for the rest of their lives has never changed over the last 26 years.
This culture in turn has been a great energiser for myself and ensures that I do my bit to ensure this smart engine called OB Anakiwa runs smoothly at all times.
What is one of your proudest moments working for Outward Bound?
The opening of the manmade wetland at back of the school in 1999. It meant that we no longer discharged wastewater to sea.
When one of the guests asked how good the effluent was, I replied by drinking a small amount. To my horror a retired judge who was standing around the outlet decided to do the same. Ooooops that wasn’t in the script but fortunately both of us didn’t get sick which gave the wetland the best possible credentials.
Have you done an Outward Bound course? If so, which one?
No – I would have done one say 20 years ago but not now.
What do you most love about your job?
The variety of work and the people I deal with to get things done
Anything else you would like to add?
At the age of 23 I asked myself the question, “what do you want to get out of life”. One thing came to mind instantly - keep it simple! Would I change anything now – no way.
Over and out!