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Danrae Group began as a family business, and we’re proud to still have a strong family focus. Our exceptional team is like an extended family – and we have several members of the founding family on board.
Ron and Lillian Caruana established Danrae in 1996, and named it for their children, Daniel and Renee. Daniel Caruana is now Danrae CEO, Renee Spiteri, is Marketing and Operations Administrator, and Renee’s husband, Wayne Spiteri, is our Sales Director.
Working for the family business wasn’t a fait accompli. Both Daniel and Renee had successful external careers before joining us. Here’s why they did, and what it means for our customers seeking comprehensive waterproofing solutions.
Ron and Lillian began in fields far removed from waterproofing. Ron was an electrician who worked on everything from small residential projects to the Sydney Opera House. And Lillian began her career in men’s tailoring. Years later when they were both looking for new roles – and Ron had branched into waterproofing – Lillian suggested they start their own business.
“So we bought a van and began. And it’s the best thing that could have happened,” says Ron.
Many years later when Daniel became CEO, Ron was able to step back from the management side to focus on project management. “I love being hands-on, I get enjoyment from solving issues… and I’m a perfectionist.” Lillian remains our Finance Manager, a role she’s filled since the first days of the company.
Lillian and Ron love that Danrae has evolved into a true family business. “Lil’s been with me from the start overseeing accounts,” says Ron, “and now with Dan, Renee and Wayne here, it’s even more enjoyable because the whole family is involved. It keeps me going.”
Daniel Caruana has held diverse roles, and he holds a long list of credentials. “I worked in IT for over ten years and was in systems administration for companies including Sapient and Time Inc. I was with Brennan IT when I saw that Dad was having trouble keeping on top of the volume of work, and I decided to come on board.”
Daniel needed to learn the business from the ground up. He spent years on the tools, earned his waterproofing licence, then undertook various business programs before earning an MBA at Charles Sturt University.
“I have a hunger for knowledge. And I love seeing people develop to their full potential.” Like Ron, he also loves a challenge. “I love seeing new jobs that I know we can provide a solution for, that’s exciting. It’s fulfilling when we find a successful solution, complete the job, and the clients are over the moon.”
Renee Spiteri is the face of Danrae, and she has years of experience in client-facing roles. “I was with Garuda Indonesia for five years, and Flight Centre for eight as Assistant Manager.” Customer relations is key to her eclectic role at Danrae that includes administration, events and marketing.
“Customer satisfaction keeps me going. And I love it when I get positive feedback on a job and know the client is really happy.”
After a successful career as an electrician, Wayne Spiteri joined Danrae about fifteen years ago.
Like Daniel, he learnt waterproofing from the ground up – and he still remembers their first day working together. “We were outside all day on a job in Canberra. It was so cold that when we went to find water, the tap had frozen!”
“Building a career from an apprenticeship you do appreciate that authority comes with experience, and after lots of hard work.” He’s since added to his skills with qualifications in building and project management – and he enjoys the working relationship with the family, and the entire team.
Daniel and Renee vividly recall the early days of Danrae. “I remember dad working very long hours and that he still always made time for us. They both taught us the value of hard work, and to always have a very positive outlook on life,” says Renee.
Daniel agrees. ‘Dad taught us tenacity, to keep going even when things are difficult. I remember him coming home from a day at work, playing with Renee and I, and then starting paperwork. I still remember walking into his home office one time and he was asleep at this desk… with pen in hand.”
“Mum taught us discipline,” Daniel continues. “She worked, kept the house in order and provided structure, which really taught me organisational skills. It’s about balance. We learnt discipline and structure from mum, and hardwork and perseverance from dad.”
The Danrae family has a strong focus on working hard and working well together to achieve success – for the company, for the entire team, and for every customer.
“Working with your family is totally different from other places. There are no grudges… just really good relationships,’ says Renee. “We all do our little bit – and it works.”