Employee Stories

Employee Stories – Kay Lomas


Overlooking her garden from a home office at Wauchope outside Port Macquarie is arguably one of Active Tree Services’ greatest assets. She is the voice at the end of the phone quietly getting things sorted, cross checking figures and tending to a massive payroll that sees over 460 employees all over Australia reliably paid each week.
For 9½ years Kay Lomas has held this position since starting out in the faster-paced environment of head office in Mona Vale. At the time she lived nearby and “couldn’t believe her luck” when she was hired for the role.
In those days it was a payroll of 260 people but soon became a massive 770 weekly pays before settling into around 500 that Kay now deals with each week. After years in the city Kay and her partner made the shift to Wauchope around four years ago, and she relocated to operate out of the Port Macquarie regional office.
When that contract ended and the regional office closed, Active owner Mark Willcocks suggested she work from home, setting up the space that overlooks her blossoming back yard. She still wears the Active uniform but concedes shoes are now an optional extra.
“I can sit here with my socks on, and that to me is freedom,” she laughs.
Kay’s average week is based around the deadline of banking pays each Wednesday but in between she deals with the varying award agreements of each state, pay rises and promotions that occur throughout the year.
Big challenges come in the form of new contracts when 20 or 30 employees need to be added to the books swiftly.
“Start day always comes around really quickly. The lesson is you have to be organised, time-tabled and accurate.”
Kay continues “getting it right” is her primary focus.

Kay Lomas

“They are my boys out there, putting in the hours, they’re on the coal face and I like to get it right first time. I understand how important that is when you’re on a budget.”
From her vantage point, Kay has seen a host of changes across the years, from technology to the ebb and flow of staff and new managers, and she’s been thrilled to witness many employees rise through the ranks.
“It’s interesting to see them go from field operator to supervisor, manager and so forth.”
And while she may not be a familiar face, Kay is a warm voice who is happy to have “a yarn”, and work with people to resolve any issues. A background as a telephonist and a commitment to setting people at ease means she not only recognises people by name, but often by their voice or even payroll number.
She notes a 10-year celebration dinner for employees last year allowed her to put faces to names.
“As they were getting up to speak I could rattle off their payroll number in my head,” she laughs.
The Active group is a great bunch of people, Kay continues – from a management team who genuinely cares to “her boys” in the field. Together they are the reason Kay will remain only a phone call away, tending the weekly payroll.
“I’ll stay for as long as they’ll have me,” she says.