The end of a 32 year era for Truss-T-Frame Timbers at Woonona on Tuesday was also the end of a four decade long career for Neil Phillips who grew up in the Blue Mountains and got his first job in the timber industry as a carpenter.
Mr Phillips then started managing truss and frame plants at Timber Industries in Oberon, Boral at Albion Park which became Timber Co while he was there, and then Mallinsons as a trust plant development manager in Sydney during the 1980s.
His last day on the job before retiring was one of reflection and accomplishment. And as he drives around Wollongong in retirement many of the homes he passes will have been built with timber frames and trusses from his business.
Son Ben Phillips said his father can also be credited for his charitable support and community sponsorship over the last three decades.
Truss-T-Frame Timbers was originally located at 1 Collins St, Corrimal before moving to Pioneer Dr, Woonona almost 30 years ago.
Mr Phillips, 64, tried to sell and relocate the business before the decision to close was made in consultation with staff. At its height Truss-T-Frame Timbers employed 27 people.
Asked how he was feeling on his last day he said "I don't think it has quite hit me yet".
"We have had some sad moments. Telling the staff what were doing was the hardest thing. I broke down a bit then. When we couldn't sell the business and looked a the relocation costs I had a meeting with the staff. I call them my brains trust and we all made the decision to close. Financially it was the best thing for us to do".
"Fortunately we have been able to find employment for nearly all the staff which is really good. We have always had a good rapport with our local competitors and they are taking many of the guys on which is terrific".