Humans of Total Fitouts – Chris Merrison

Chris Merrison – Total Fitouts Wide Bay – Managing Director
For some people the realisation of their dreams is a destination. An athlete winning a premiership in their final game, an astronaut after a lifetime of training reaching the moon or a mountain climber conquering Mt Everest. For some people, once they reach their destination, the dream is completed and then over ….. This is what we call a fairy-tale.
As good as fairy-tales are they have a conclusion, or at the very least an anti-climatic comedown. The athlete retires, the astronaut flies back down to earth and the climber returns to base camp. As much as people dream of their own fairy-tale’s, wouldn’t you rather hold onto a dream for a lot longer than a moment, to instead fixate on it for years to come?
That is the exact season of life that Total Fitouts Wide Bay’s co-Managing Director, Chris Merrison finds himself heading into. We couldn’t be more proud and excited for him.
People who find themselves in shop fitting generally don’t start out there, they usually begin as carpenters or joiners, but Chris knew right from the beginning of his working career that he wanted to run his own commercial shop fitting company. With this in mind he put on his tool belt and started a shop fitting apprenticeship in 2005, in Hervey Bay.
Since his apprenticeship, Chris steadily climbed the ranks within the fitout industry in the Wide Bay region, eventually becoming a site supervisor and gaining his qualification as a Project Manager in 2015. As much as he loved the delivery-side of fitouts, Chris believed in his ability to become more rounded in his skill-set and desired to learn “front-end” of the business, being sales and estimating; as much as this though, he wanted to run his own company.
And this is where his dream started to take shape.
Chris and his colleague Warren Thorpe were approached by local kitchen manufacturer and joiner friend Michael Gempton about Total Fitouts.
They saw that the brand was a great way for themselves to build their own company, based on their shop fitting experience, but “the sales and marketing aspects of the brand makes hairs stand up on the back of our necks”. Being able to leverage off of this for their own businesses success was extremely attractive to them, and so they formulated a partnership and started Total Fitouts Wide Bay earlier this year.
Now after 11 years in the industry Chris is living out his dream. His dream was to be his own boss and build a fitout company that would grow from strength to strength. A company that could be a part of his own personal identity. Everyday from here on in, Chris can go to his office, to meet clients, to develop relationships and to go to his construction sites, knowing that he is living out his dream.
As much as success is one of the primary motivating factor for any business owner, the real excitement moving forward for Chris is that he was a born leader, and is now in a position to act that out everyday for his team. When asked what is the best part of his new role, Chris replied “Simply ….
Being a leader! Showing people what I have to offer and how I can help provide a platform for my staff to make their dreams come true, just as mine has.”
The core value of any successful leader is to be willing to empower their staff to be able to succeed in not just their role, but in life. Leaders need to be dream inspirers. An autocratic mentality doesn’t work in the modern era, it is about being relational and motivating; and we can’t wait to see how this plays out for Chris into the future for his Total Fitouts Wide Bay team.