GLOBAL AMBITION: From left, Jack Hooper from GEM Energy and Glen Dobinson of Dobinsons Spring and Suspension with a small part of the solar panel array on top of Dobinsons’ roof.
GLOBAL AMBITION: From left, Jack Hooper from GEM Energy and Glen Dobinson of Dobinsons Spring and Suspension with a small part of the solar panel array on top of Dobinsons’ roof. Chris Ison Rokcsolar

Dobinsons hits Miami shores as Rockhampton business expands

FROM a humble shed in the backyard to the shores of Miami, Florida; Glen Dobinson never dreamt of the heights his family's spring and suspension business would reach.

Co-owned by brothers Glen and Keith, Dobinsons Spring and Suspension have launched themselves further onto the global market, having opened their first Miami warehouse on July 1.

And the wheels are already in motion for a Dubai base - which Glen said would allow the business to supply the Middle Eastern market.

"We have got two people over there (in Miami) now, we are building stock to send over there now so we have got people employed and an office there," Glen said. "From Miami we can sell to South America and the USA market.

"Dubai, that's another hub that can sell to the Middle East, up to Africa, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Israel."

But Glen stressed the Rockhampton-based company's expansion was about creating and keeping jobs local, and remaining competitive on a global market with manufacturing and orders completed from the Rockhampton warehouse.

The move comes as a $1.2 million solar panel project kicks into gear at the Hollingsworth St warehouse, and takes Dobinsons ever-further "off the grid" as they battle increasing electricity bills - which ultimately put a strain on manufacturing costs.

GEM Energy snapped this aerial view ofhte 519KW roof-mounted solar system, mounted on the Dobinsons Springs and Suspesion Rockhampton warehouse.Photo Contributed
GEM Energy snapped this aerial view ofhte 519KW roof-mounted solar system, mounted on the Dobinsons Springs and Suspesion Rockhampton warehouse.Photo Contributed Contributed

Emerald-based company GEM Energy completed the 519KW installation last week; one of the largest roof-mounted solar systems in the state.

GEM Energy Managing director Jack Hooper said the project cut their power usage by 35%, and was one of several major projects his team were working on throughout Central Queensland; including a 320-panel system at the St Patrick's school.

"They have put in a system that is 320 panels and they change all their lights out to LED to reduce their energy usage by 60%.

"Marist college in Emerald has also done the same thing."

The Dobinsons system is stage one of a three-stage plan to introduce solar batteries and large generators.

"It's beautiful, I feel pretty excited about it. It's a good feeling, working towards being self-sufficient and being green too," Mr Dobinson said of the completed job.

>>READ: 250% surge in power prices spurs $1 million solar solution

While there's no slowing down for the Dobinsons, who already supply to more than 40 countries, Glen took a moment to reflect on where it all began.

Dobinsons demonstration: Nick Dobinson demonstrates how to make a coil at Dobinsons Springs and Suspension Rockhampton factory.
Dobinsons demonstration: Nick Dobinson demonstrates how to make a coil at Dobinsons Springs and Suspension Rockhampton factory.

"Dad started off in 1953, a shed in the backyard," he said.

"I started working with him in 1974 - around Rocky and the coal mines.

"Dad stepped back and my brother Keith and myself, we took on supplying more of Australia. In 1985 we started exporting around the South Pacific, went on to Indonesia, kept climbing up into Europe, the US and Russia and all different countries around the world.

"Now to own my own branches, that was a big step, international that's even a scarier step.

"I keep asking myself 'am I doing the right thing?' - you put the money in and you don't know if it will work or not.

"You think it's a scary step, but I'm feeling confident enough in my life."