In the rich tapestry of Australia's timber industry, the recent passing of John Pizzey, our esteemed Managing Director and Owner of Porta, marks a significant moment. On October 26th, 2023, we lost not just a visionary leader but a pivotal figure in our company's history. This tribute, imbued with deep respect and affection, is echoed by his family and the entire Porta community.

John's four-decade tenure with Porta was a transformative era. His insightful leadership elevated Porta to a prominent position in Australia's timber industry, particularly as a supplier of decorative timber products. He seamlessly integrated innovation with a dedication to quality, establishing Porta as an industry benchmark.

His journey with us was marked by significant achievements, notably our partnership with Bunnings, which began in 1992 and was solidified in 1993. This collaboration witnessed the successful launch of the Porta Power Aisle initiative, a testament to the synergy between Bunnings and Porta, and a cornerstone of our mutual growth.

John's role transcended typical leadership; he was a guardian of timber's heritage and a proponent of sustainable practices. He steered the company through its varied product offerings, ensuring that every piece of timber, sourced responsibly from local and imported certified species, met the highest standards. His passion was evident in how he revolutionized timber merchandising, transforming it into a key component of our business model.

In challenging times, notably the market shifts in the late 2000s, John's deep understanding of timber, particularly Tasmanian Oak, was instrumental in navigating through uncertainty. His decisions were not just business strategies but a manifestation of his passion for the potential of timber. This passion was also reflected in the modernization of Porta's brand, including the adoption of a bold red logo, symbolizing the dynamic nature of our company.

Under John's stewardship, Porta pioneered several industry practices, setting new standards in the timber market. His initiatives, from product barcoding to shrink-wrapped panels, were not merely about advancing Porta but were also aimed at educating the market and leading the industry towards new horizons.

John was more than a business leader; he was a champion for the timber industry's contribution to the Australian economy. He advocated for eco-friendly practices and local manufacturing, fostering job creation and community development. He instilled family values within Porta, emphasizing the importance of each individual's contribution to our collective success. His legacy remains a beacon, guiding us to maintain the high standards and values that have defined Porta's journey.

We are proud to announce Mark Bejatovic as Porta's new Chief Executive Officer. His appointment, a decision made by John, reflects his confidence in Mark's abilities to lead Porta into a bright future. Mark shares John's values and vision, making him the ideal successor to continue steering Porta towards innovative growth.

As Mark takes the helm, we embark on an exciting new chapter at Porta. We are introducing innovative products, such as our Porta Contours Tasmanian Oak in Featured Grade, a symbol of our commitment to quality and sustainability. Additionally, we are launching Portaline, our latest range of lining boards, designed for ease of installation and aesthetic appeal. These products are more than just additions to our range; they represent the continuation of John's forward-thinking and responsible legacy.

In honouring John's legacy, we are inspired to uphold and build upon the family values and pioneering spirit that have defined Porta for over a century. Our future endeavors, deeply rooted in John's vision, are set to reinforce Porta's esteemed position as a leader in the Australian timber industry. We stand committed to continuing a legacy of excellence and innovation, a legacy that is not only a testament to our identity as a 5th generation family-run business but also a symbol of a sustainable and innovative future. Together, we pledge to honour and shape the future of Porta, a company that is an integral part of Australia's timber heritage, embodying the standards of excellence and pioneering values that John so passionately championed.