Jill of all trades finds her calling
IT'S a fair bet this Central Queensland business woman's resume is longer than your arm.
Bernadette Bridson, or Bernie as she is affectionately known, has had a mixed bags of professions, doing everything from working on the land to being a boiler maker.
Her latest venture, Commercial Kitchen and Bar Equipment is a business specialising in fitting-out businesses and kitchens with everything from deep fryers to fridges.
One of the products Bernadette sells is UNOX ovens, she's sold so many in-fact, UNOX awarded her with a coveted overseas trip.
Along with the other winners, Bernadette was taken around the globe doing cook offs in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur and even visiting the UNOX factory in Italy.
But Bernadette's passion wasn't always fitting out commercial kitchens, the Emu Park local has done it all and even saw the Stanwell Power Station being built from start to finish in the seven years she worked there.
"I first started as a jillaroo when I was fourteen,” Bernadette said.
"I was the first woman to work for Evans Deakin as a trade assistant for a boiler maker and then I did some modules in welding.
"I got an award from Queensland Electrical Council when I was there for the production of the power station back in 1991.
"My girlfriends say 'what haven't you done Bernie?.”
Despite working in primarily male-dominated industries, Bernadette knows how to hold her own in the workplace.
"I grew up with four boys so I know how to stand my ground, I just give it back to them,” she said.
"I'd rather work with males than females.”
When talking to Bernadette about her business, it's easy to see why she was chosen for the UNOX award.
Her dedication and passion to having a hands on approach to every part of her business gives her a point of difference that sets her apart from the rest.
"I do it all on my own, I do the invoices, the purchase orders, I organise all the contractors and I do all that side of it,” Bernadette said.
"I go in and actually design the kitchen, I go in and tell them, this is what I think.
"There's a lot of companies that will just ship something out to you.
"I don't want to sell rubbish.
"I like to follow up with customers.
"I spend a lot of time out on jobs, setting them up, sorting them out, setting up contractors.”
Bernadette said the 12 day trip courtesy of UNOX was an experience that taught her all the more about the product she excels at selling.
"We got more knowledge, more hands on time with the ovens, knowing how they're made, the quality of the ovens,” she said.
"Not many people get that opportunity.”
Bernadette is currently fitting out the new Pie Guru store on Campbell St, Rockhampton and has worked with owner Steve on all his pie stores, building up a strong reputation and friendship along the way.
"Steve has experience with other businesses and when he came across me he only trusts me and won't deal with anyone else,” she said.
"He's just always said to me 'it's too easy with you Bernie, I just sit back and you do all the work'.”
CBKE was started using the wealth of experience Bernadette gained over the years of her extensive work history, contributing to her success.
"I worked for another company for seven years and then decided to get out on my own,” she said.
"I have a lot of experience so I thought I'd give it go.
"Since I've been out on my own I've been up and running for two years and done seven fit outs.”
"My figure when I went out my own was I can only give it a go, if it works, it works.
"If you give it 100% and your best shot, what comes of it comes of it.”
It's not just Bernadette who's good in business, her husband owns the transport company Bridson Transport.