Leigh Rust, Co-founder & Director, Safetyline Jalousie Louvre Windows

Leigh Rust: A Winning Entrepreneur

At Present, offices, schools, restaurants and even hospitals are not built for the post-COVID-19 world. People are now demanding for spaces designed for health and safety over aesthetics and value. This includes incorporating smart ventilation into buildings and having flora as a major feature in the city buildings. How do we design and build?

With the same perception, Safety line Jalousie Louvre Windows are built for top performance even in extreme conditions and designed for sustainability. Leigh RustFounder and Director manufactures the most versatile, highest performing, Australian made louvre window systems on the market.

A Passionate Advocate for Australian goods

Leigh Rust is a huge believer of dedicating time to personal development and he does a lot of work around mindset and overcoming challenges. Leigh does not like to take no for an answer, he firmly believes there is always another path and he encourages everyone within his company to approach their own roadblocks with the same attitude.

In terms of Leigh’s influence on the industry, it is something he is more determined to focus on now that he has things under control with the business since the pandemic broke out.

With borders shutting down all over the world, the founder saw an opportunity to step up and create some noise important for Australian Manufacturing within the construction sector.

What started with standing up for 1500 small businesses in window fabrication, ended up coinciding with announcement of the Federal Governments $5 million, “Go Local First’ campaign in July 2020.

Since then, Leigh has employed the services of a number of specialist consultants to help him devise a plan to lobby government and raise the profile of the importance of this cause in the media.

It has definitely been his most outstanding work yet, he is thankful for the opportunity, even though it was born out of such a terrible situation, where so many lives have been lost.

Leigh now sees the potential impact he can have as a leader in this space and he plans to continue making noise for this cause as part of a longer-term goal to keep money on-shore to make sure his kids, and other kids have the opportunity to live and work in this great country.

The Driving-Force

Family values, along with the company values and standards have been paramount for shaping the team’s culture over the past 10-years.

Leigh Rust is proud to say he still has a number of staff members who have been with SJLW since day one – which he believes is a testament in itself.

When it comes to team culture, it has been a challenge keeping everyone ‘together’ during this time with staff isolated in Brisbane, Melbourne and Malaysian offices where, he has been making more of a conscious effort to include them in decisions about the future of the business and check in with them regularly on video calls.

An Open and Honest Individual

Leigh Rust believes, we must all play out part in ensuring the social welfare of others. It’s why ‘Social Impact’ is one of the underpinning pillars of his business.

Beyond the innovative work that the organization does developing performance louvre windows to improve social outcomes, it also gets behind a number of causes and community fundraisers including the recent CEO Dare Cure event for childhood cancer research.

During the devastating Australian Wildfires, SJLW adopted several Koalas at the local Koala hospital and throughout the year, it tried to take part in events to help raise awareness for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) research.

The company has also worked with the Tiny Homes Project in the past to help find solutions for homelessness and may have something more to announce to work it hopes to do to assist with homelessness in the future.

Always Looking for Ways to Grow

After successfully partnering with government in the past to supply over 400 schools with its performance louvre windows, SJLW is now working on expanding out into other areas of government like social housing, aged-care, and defence.

In recently months, Leigh Rust spearheaded a proposal for governments in Australia to coincide with a $17.6 billion building and construction stimulus. Leigh’s work lobbying government is ongoing, and he has personally met, and will continue to meet with politicians and government representatives to create mutually beneficial relationships to create these opportunities.

Prior to Covid, SJLW was about to expand operations into New Zealand, so as soon as the company can, it will get that rolling again too and it is also looking into its exporting capability for 2021 and beyond.

The pandemic has seen a re-evaluation of the functionality of space and a call for increased emphasis on physical safety and health through well-designed buildings. It is anticipated that high quality ventilation will be key in creating safer buildings and that automation will play a big part in post-pandemic architecture where the development and use of no-touch technology is expected to be the norm.

So, in addition to its lobbying efforts, Leigh is really optimistic about SmartAir’s potential to provide a pandemic friendly ventilation solution for the built environment.

Core Values for the Future

SJLW has always been big on performance and exceeding regulations and expectations, but after a decade in business, and then the pandemic, Leigh Rust realized it was time to review the core values which will carry the company into the future.

The company now has a new code to stand by and the entire team can feel proud of their involvement in a business that seeks to do more than just produce high performance louvre windows for sale.

The code is built from the following four pillars:

  • Social Impact: Better outcomes for the health and wellbeing of building occupants
  • Environment Preservation: It supports the United Nations global sustainable development goals
  • Sustainability: It is the market leader delivering building products for on-going energy efficiency
  • Stronger Economy: It supports local job growth and Australian manufacturing.
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