This month Smart Start Interlocks Australia turns ten years old!
Although it was only ten years ago that Smart Start Australia got off the ground, its journey started years before that. Family man John Doherty was just an auto electrician with a passion for restoring cars and passing on his skills to apprentices. But when he learnt of the alcohol interlock program, he saw an opportunity to expand his business while also helping people change their behaviour for the better.
At the time there was no way of knowing that he would spend the next three years being knocked back in his attempts to find space for an eager new supplier in the market. His break came when he got to talking with VicRoads. As it turned out, they were after an innovative new camera product, one that at the time was only being developed by a company in America by the name of Smart Start Interlocks.
It was the start of an unlikely partnership which stands to this very day. It involved countless meetings, flights to Dallas, toil and sweat as John did everything he could to get the product over the line. After his day's work as an auto electrician he'd step out of his overalls and into a suit to meet with VicRoads management. At last, in September 2009, he received approval and Smart Start Interlocks Australia installed their first interlock in Melton, Victoria.
Since that day the company has gone through some massive changes. Ten years ago, Smart Start comprised of two staff working in a rented office and was yet to install a single alcohol interlock. Now we employ 18 staff, have partnered with 105 service centres, and have installed thousands of alcohol interlock devices across the nation. Through this all John has helmed the ship, still as passionate about the company now as he was ten years ago. He and the rest of the Smart Start Australia team (including his endlessly patient wife Jenny), continue to work together to become the top alcohol interlock supplier in Australia.
So what does the future hold? The focus now is on consolidating and expanding our alcohol interlock business by growing our networks to cover all of Australia, and working with our service centres to ensure consistency and quality. We're going one step further and planning on introducing new products to our line-up, including increasing our personal breath tester range and looking into exciting new intelligent fingerprinting technology.
And of course, through this all it's still about the people. We want to reward and encourage our loyal staff and service centres, keeping to our roots as a family business. Just bigger.