Who knew? Cycling heavyweight calls Canberra home

Posted 31 Oct 2017

Story by CBR Canberra

Trek is one of the largest cycling companies in the world, manufacturing and distributing hundreds of bikes every year.

But, unbeknown to many people are Canberra’s close ties with the global cycling giant.

Since 2012, Trek has been running its Asia-Pacific headquarters right here in the capital. Trek’s Asia-Pacific Managing Director, Phil McGlade, says it was Canberra’s significant cycling community that initially drew the company here.

“Being a cycling company, we obviously like our staff to have easy access to bike riding, so we were looking for a city offering us that,” Phil said. “Being based in Canberra, our staff can hop on a bike and go for a ride before and after work and during their lunch break, which wouldn’t be so easy anywhere else. Whether it’s mountain, road or on the path, Canberra offers all types of cycling, which is really important for us.”

In 2016 ACT service exports increased by 13.1 per cent, establishing Canberra as a leading city for global business opportunities.  Phil says while Trek initially chose Canberra for its cycling community, the company has continued to benefit as a global business located in the capital.

“Being in Canberra, it’s so easy to travel anywhere. My team travel extensively around Australia and to the U.S. and being so close to the airport reduces a lot of stress. Virtually no traffic makes the drive to work so much easier and our proximity to the office also gives staff the option of cycling in.”

As a company who deals with many non-English speaking countries, multilingual staff is a necessity. Phil says being in Canberra and having some of the world’s best institutions, such as the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Canberra (UC) on their doorstep has allowed Trek to improve its business communications.

“We do a lot of business in languages other than English, particularly Mandarin and Japanese. Close proximity to the universities means our staff access world class teaching – I actually completed a Japanese degree at UC myself.”

Trek are not the first large company to bypass the likes of a larger city, with Phil saying many large companies prefer being in cities similar to Canberra.

“Most global brands aren’t headquartered in large cities and instead opt for those with populations similar to Canberra’s, so it’s not a new phenomenon. Being a global brand in a smaller city makes you the ‘cool brand’ in town, which increases the amount of local people wanting to work for you or buy your products,” said Phil.

Having grown up in Canberra, Phil believes the capital is second-to-none, and other businesses should consider setting up.

“You really can’t find a better city for business than Canberra. Apart from being in such a great location, this city allows you to offer staff a challenging career, without being caught up in the inconveniences of living in a bigger city, such as long commutes or extended working hours. The work-life balance you get in Canberra is like none other,” says Phil.

Phil believes there is plenty of scope for the private sector to grow, and encourages other businesses to consider establishing in the city.

“With all of the opportunities the city provides, I’m sure it won’t be long until even more companies are realising Canberra’s potential and jumping on board,” Phil says.

When he’s not in the office talking about bikes, Phil’s riding them, and says he loves being able to get out in to the nature and wildlife that live in and around the city.

“I love the nature corridors in Canberra and being able to take my kids out for a ride. Just the other day we were out and saw Kangaroos and an Echidna and it makes me feel so lucky to have all of this right on my doorstep. I don’t think you’d get the opportunity to be so close to nature in other cities,” says Phil.

For more information on Trek Bikes, you can visit their website.

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