Managing Director, Greg Gates inside the production facility
Managing Director, Greg Gates inside the production facility

By Sean Edwards – Café Culture

Café Culture, through its vast network of industry contacts had an exciting call from Greg Gates, Managing Director of The Sirron Group, about cafes and a new alcohol free sanitiser solution they had developed. We were midway through the Covid crisis, so the timing was perfect for a chat about the sustainable future for our industry. The conversation diverted into some interesting developments and opportunities in the café/coffee sector, and the business partnership between The Sirron Group and Café Culture was created.

We would now like to formally introduce Greg, just before we go live with our new project, which will go viral when announced. This will change the way we operate in the future, so please stay tuned.

Meet Gatesy!

They call him Gatesy. Anyone who knows him, knows who you’re talking about when you say his name.

A business and people developer at heart and somewhat tornado-like by nature, Greg is an unstoppable force. The difference is that his power is constructive, not destructive.

A hands-on, situational leader with a gift for building a culture of loyalty and respect, he has been responsible for the successful development and transformation of many businesses across varied sectors throughout his career. 

Within The Sirron Group, Greg has revived the flagging commercial dishwashing manufacturing division of Norris Industries, by recruiting the right talent to develop the Butler Equipment division to an unprecedented performance level, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, drove the pivot towards Zexa Chemicals that saved the livelihoods of Sirron staff. And, indeed, saved the entire Group.

As the supply chain emptied of much needed sanitisation and disinfection resources, Greg innovated daily to fill needed gaps through collaborations with network contacts and by developing new customer relationships on the run. His strength is his word and ability to work at great pace, surrounding himself with people equipped to keep up and support his direction. The success of his approach is evidenced by the development of 80 new products at the behest of the supply chain, all since March 2020.

In a nutshell, Greg is into building great businesses and making a difference to the people within them.  When he isn’t working, he’s into Harley Davidsons, his wife Glenda, grandkids and a cheeky beverage (may not be in that order!).

For more information about Sirron see links below.


Sirron Holdings

Sirron Holdings Group is based in Caves Beach, just south of Newcastle in NSW. The site is home to two manufacturing divisions: Norris Industries, manufacturer of quality commercial dishwashing machines since 1954 and Zexa Chemicals, which exists to provide innovative, safe and effective cleaning solutions to all industries. 

Over the years, the business has evolved to include services to support the additional needs of the kitchens the Group serves. Each of these divisions were developed over time while achieving a balance between ethical, environmental and economic outcomes.

For Sirron, sustainability is a value that’s led from the top, underpinning a legacy principle to support the vulnerable through charity and benefit the community, internally and externally. The reality is that Sirron must be profitable to continue and grow this support.  

To “Leave the place better than we found it” was an intrinsic principle of Founder, John Watts, recently deceased. His commitment led to ahead-of-the-curve decisions on power saving initiatives and encouraged the innovation of products that were ‘built to last’.  This approach has made a real difference to the people using the products, providing reliability, economy and ‘peace of mind’ to the stressful hospitality industry, whilst having the lowest possible impact on the environment. 

At its highest level, the drive to minimise harm and maximise community benefits creates sustainable practices in itself. It’s a way of thinking that has not only driven down the factory operating costs by matching work-flow with power generation & consumption through to putting these ideas into our products.  For example – Norris has a world first in commercial dishwashers for busy cafes that Is cold water connectedUses 50% less power (2018 Newcastle University Energy Study) Runs all day – never have to wait. When the Groups operations were threatened by the COVID pandemic, cultural flexible thinking and agility enabled the pivot towards manufacturing essential chemicals such as hand sanitiser into a struggling supply chain in an effort to help. This initial agility is being supported by extensive consultation, research and ongoing testing to make sure the pivot is sustainable and that the products meet or exceed the requirements of the new landscape.  Over 80 new chemical product formats have been developed since March 2020.

Importantly, the Group was also able to retain all employees throughout the pandemic restrictions by redeploying their skills to enable the pivot and adapting the factory workspaces and practices to ensure the safety of all involved. 


HMA Excellence in Environmentally Responsible Manufacturing Processes  2016

HMA Environmental Excellence Award 2017

HMA Excellence in Product Design 2017

HMA Marketing Excellence Award 2019

HMA Excellence in Technology 2019

Silver Sustainability Partner Office of Environment & Heritage

3 time Good Design Australia Award Winner (recent 2019)

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