Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

The GM of the ETC Is a Country Boy with a Big Heart; in the Second Article of Our New Series, STEPHANIE HUNT Interviews Michael Close

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

The GM of the ETC Is a Country Boy with a Big Heart; in the Second Article of Our New Series, STEPHANIE HUNT Interviews Michael Close

Article excerpt

I met Michael Close in my second week living in the region at the Welcome to Coffs function. I wondered how someone could be so enthusiastic about running an employment agency in a town renowned for its high unemployment. That interested me, so I asked Michael if he would be my very first interviewee for The Most Interesting Person I Know a he very kindly agreed.

MICHAEL Close is a country boy at heart. Born and raised on the Breeza Plain, near Gunnedah in north-western NSW, he's taken on the big cities and settled in Coffs, but his heart lies back on the land.

aThere's just a different feeling when you're at home,a Michael said.

aThere's a settling inside you and a comfort comes over you. I walk into the bowling club and a few of the old bowlers are sitting there and we're all comfortable in silence. We say a few words every 10 min- utes and watch the cricket.a

Michael grew up on his family's sheep and cattle property, but it is football that first pulled Michael away from the western plains.

He headed to Sydney to play professionally with the North Sydney Bears and with the encouragement of the club he also found himself on the first rung of his business career with Cable and Wireless Optus.

aIt was a big adjustment going from a town of 1000 people to working in a building with 35 floors and thousands of people.a

Michael thrived in the city, but it took its toll and after time playing football and climbing the ladder in Sydney, England and Brisbane he decided he'd had enough of the big smoke.

aI still remember coming back one night on the plane from Brisbane. The first flight was turned around and then the second flight finally landed at about 11pm. It was pouring rain. I got up to my car and I'd left my lights on. I finally got home for about an hour's sleep, drenched wet, new baby, tired wife. …

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