Somewhat of a ‘self-made man’, Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) Board Director Richard Rains originally hails from a property at Birriwa in Central West NSW. He’s gone on to shape a successful long term career marketing Australian meats globally.
Richard’s father ensured his children received a full education after being taken out of school during World War II, aged only 10.
“When I left school in 1972, it wasn’t the norm to go to university. It’s very different these days. It’s important to have a qualification or degree and progress into a career,” Richard said.
Richard dedicated the bulk of his career to meat export marketing company Sanger Australia, rounding out his professional life as the CEO for 13 years – with export sales of up to $500 million annually before selling the business in a management buy out in 2013.
“Fortunately, I found a career that I could dig my teeth into,” he said.
“I’ve always hired young people with university degrees to surround myself with smart and ambitious people to lead the way for the business into the future.”
Richard has also dedicated significant time to various boards including The Australian Export Council, The Co-operative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies and a committee of the Cattle Council of Australia in the past.
While being part of the CEF executive today, Richard also sits on the Paraway Pastoral Company board and chairs the Zanda McDonald Award committee.
Richard’s passion is to witness the benefit that further education provides, especially for future generations.
“I spend a fair bit of time in rural and regional Australia, and you see kids falling through the cracks. We’re fortunate to live in a time where people recognise the importance and the difference that an education can make for young people,” he said.
“It’s extraordinary to see young people so hungry for opportunity. These days people are keen to learn and change their lives. Some come from humble circumstances, yet want to use their intelligence to better their life.”
Richard is keen to work on CEF’s sustainability well into the future, ensuring its independence and ensuring long-term value through investment and networking with national brands.
“What we’re doing is unique. None of it would happen without the volunteers in the bush. They know their communities. They have the passion, knowledge and drive to make a difference in the bush.”
“It’s the little things that can make a huge difference at the end of the day.”