CGI Celebrates 22 years

It’s official! Graham and Craig have been in business for 22 years having celebrated on April 1 2020. (attach photo of cake G)

1998 was a big year for us, when together with Danielle and Michele, we left behind the security of working for the NZ Chesterton distributor (the irony is we were made redundant by that company) of the time and embarked on a new journey into the unknown. Sounds a little dramatic doesn’t it? To prove the point we agreed to jump off the Kawarau bridge if we were still in business 12 months later. Please ask Graham for a copy of the Video, very entertaining.

On the advice of our accountant at the time we both invested in Toyota Camry’s mine the gold one and Grahams the dark silver model, 1991 vintage. As the exclusive Chesterton distributors for the South Island (and now also licensed Chesterton distributors for the North Island) our  vehicles did huge k’s in the first couple of years with our coverage of the South Island representing the full Chesterton range of products, from gland packing to mechanical seals, from the TP range (723 Sprasolvo immediately springs to mind) to that new 2 pot mix called ARC rebuild compound for lining pumps and other industrial equipment.

Some highlights from our 22 years in business:

The Fiji Islands: One of the best and most challenging decisions Graham and I made was to reintroduce the Chesterton brand back into Fiji. Many of our customers back here in NZ argued that our trips were just “bosses jollies” and accused us of sitting by the pool in some fancy hotel at Denarau Island. This was far from the truth, when our base near the Vatukoula Gold Mine was the Tavua Hotel, a classic 40’s weatherboard hotel that had concrete flooring in the public bar. The staff at the Tavua were great, and we had lots of laughs with the cleaning ladies.

We presented several mechanical gland packing seminars to the Gold Mine fitting staff, often in 38 deg C, (unreliable air conditioning) and helped install Chesterton 1830-SSP into Warman dewatering pumps 1000 metres below ground level in 45 deg C temperatures. Water free flowed into the mine at 60 deg C, making for an uncomfortable working sauna. Before Chesterton 1830-SSP these pumps had on average a stuffing box repack every shift (10 hours), by installing 1830-SSP packing life went to 2 weeks. Once the SpiralTrac throat bushings were installed this packing life extended to 3 months, unheard of at the mine.

We have visited the Islands over 35 times in 20 years, and have met some interesting engineers in the mining and sugar industries, and the knowledge we have gained from these people has definitely helped us here in NZ.

Some other” boss’s jollies” have included attending annual Chesterton conferences around the world, from Boston (Chesterton’s home state) to New York (our favourite), Vietnam and Bali to name a few. And yes, we may have shared a few wee gins after the meetings/learning was over for the day, however we managed to share many application ideas and keep our air points up at the same time. Annual conferences are an ideal opportunity to learn about new products available from Chesterton. This year’s conference has been postponed due to the impact of Covid-19 until, which is unfortunate as we were to release Chesterton’s new range of cartridge mechanical seals, the single 1810 and the dual 2810 (please see attached link).  

Our business has continued to grow (and our waistlines but not our hairlines) with Ali Smith based in Invercargill and Graeme Williamson in Christchurch, supporting the CNC Gasket Cutting machine (which is Danielle’s machine!) Craig has shifted up to the North Island to support our historical clients and new. With 62 years of experience between us, we are sure we can help in any area of sealing, whether it be water, steam, gas or sewage, to our engineered polymer solutions for critical hydraulic plant.

Feel free to call us:

Graham Gillespie 021323595

Craig Capstick 0274323594

Alistair Smith 0274244254

Graeme Williamson 0272614235

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