Tradie of the Year Award winner, Robert Gruis, is renowned for his broad knowledge of so many different systems.

Whether its routine maintenance or a priority one breakdown, Gruis has a reputation for being the right fridgie for the job.

The Woolworths technician was nominated for the Tradie of the Year Award with a long list of glowing references all praising his incredible work ethic and ability to deal with some of the most difficult faults and errors in the trade.

“Give him a screw driver, a multi-meter and 15 minutes and he'll figure out what's wrong with it,” they joked.

His reputation in the workplace can be attributed to his problem solving abilities, he has a knack for fixing long standing and irritating issues that most people would delegate to the 'too hard' basket.

As well as being a fixer Gruis has managed to generate thousands of dollars in savings by re-using spare parts from one store to another. His love for the trade was handed down by his father who first began working as a fridgie in 1988.

Growing up Gruis was at his father's side helping him with installations so he developed an appreciation for tools at an early age.

“What I love most about this trade is that every job is different and its great to be able to keep the business operating efficiently whether its maintaining store temperatures or keeping products cold,” he said.

Talk to Gruis about the trade and its clear that he values the unique skill set that makes a great fridgie which is why he stresses the importance of protecting the trade.

“We need to keep work in-house for licensed technicians only,” he said.

“We need to raise the profile of the trade because most people outside of the industry haven't even heard of it which is why we have such a shortage of tradespeople.

“It's a shame because as an industry we are a tight community where everyone is generally happy to help and discuss issues to achieve the best result.”

The Tradie of the Year Award was sponsored by Kirby HVACR. Gruis was presented with his award by Kirby managing director, Wayne Ferguson.


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