Rod Faulks from South West Fuel has claimed the Outstanding Business Leader category at the Murray-Riverina Regional Business Awards last Friday night.

The 57-year-old started as a truck driver with South West Fuel back in 1985 and has never looked back, progressing up through the ranks to the favourable position he is now in.

Rod and South West Fuel were one of only seven businesses in Cootamundra that were nominated for the regional business awards and the only Coota winner in any category.

Rod said he was honoured to receive the reward, in what has been a challenging last couple of years for most businesses.

“I’m extremely proud. I’m a bit surprised too, of course, I wasn’t really expecting to win it,” he said.

“The last two years particularly with COVID has been difficult, but in any business, it’s hard going. The challenges are always enjoyable.”

Ironically, Rod wasn’t able to watch the award ceremony online last Friday night, finding out he had been awarded as the Outstanding Business Leader hours later when his phone was flooded with messages.

“I was out of phone range funnily enough, and I couldn’t log in,” Rod explained.

“Once I got the phone in service I got a few messages, which was good.”

Rod will receive a trophy and will now progress onto the NSW Business Awards on November 26, stepping up from the regional awards to a whole state awards night.

Rod Faulks after his win at the Cootamundra Business Awards held by the Cootamundra Development Corporation.

The awards night will be an in-person event, depending on COVID restrictions.

“Winning an award there would be nice, but I’m not getting my hopes up about it,” Rod continued.

“It’s a nice feather in the cap for Cootamundra to be represented on the big stage.”

Rod has helped excel and grow South West Fuel from strength to strength, making it a prominent and well-respected business in the community.

His strong business nous, along with his astute attributes and qualities has allowed South West Fuel to thrive.

“I’d say longevity in business helps,” Rod said.

“I’ve also got to give a lot of credit to my staff, I can’t take all the credit. The staff are very important, and they are a big part of our business.”

Rod was humble in accepting his award for Outstanding Business Leader, thanking the community and supporters who have helped the business to the strong position of where it is today.

“I’ve definitely got to thank the community for supporting us because we’ve been through some changes and the communities always supported us, so that’s why we like to put a lot back in sponsorship and any other ways we can help,” he continued.

“We certainly can’t survive without them supporting us, so I’ve really got to thank the community in general for their great support of South West Fuel.”

Tim Warren