‘In the old days, you’d mix the paint by eye’

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Calling time ... Bridgman Street Panelbeaters production and paint shop manager Ray Loader ended a 55-year car painting career in Dunedin on Monday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

During his last day of work on Monday, Bridgman Street Panelbeaters production and paint shop manager Ray Loader answers five questions from business reporter Shawn McAvinue about his car painting career.

Q: When did you enter the industry?

Straight out of school, I started at the car-painting shop Little and Brown, near The Oval, in 1965. I did a five-year apprenticeship there. I’ve been at Bridgman Street Panelbeaters for the past 40 years.

Q: How has the industry changed?

The technology – (a co-worker yells out: “when he started he used a paintbrush”) – That’s not far off. There were no bake ovens. Now when you mix paint, you put a colour code in a computer and it gives you the formula to mix. In the old days, you’d mix the paint by eye. When I started at Bridgman Street Panelbeaters there were 18 staff – now there’s 34.

Q: Are you retiring?

Well say yeah at the moment. I’ve got a daughter with a hair salon and a son with a bakery so they’ll probably put me to work.

Q: Are you putting on a morning tea shout?

Due to Covid-19 safety measures the boys have smoko at different times so I’ll come back in and shout when we are in Alert Level 1.

Q: I hear it been emotional time finishing up?

Yeah – 40 years is a long time and it’s been good to me. I’ll miss everything about it.