Dodgshun Medlin had its origins in the Victorian town of Swan Hill in 1957 as Eric L Green – a small accounting practice serving a fair portion of surrounding country. At that point, Ian Dodgshun was still a child.
Fast forward to the early 1970s. Like many young men of the era, Ian set off for Melbourne to further his education and earn his stripes among the professional services set of Collins Street. A country person at heart, he returned home frequently and soon formed the opinion that rural communities were being short-changed in terms of the range and sophistication of services available to them locally. His ambition became to develop a regionally-focused business with CBD-clout.
In 1979, Ian returned to Swan Hill and, along with Alan Medlin, joined Eric L Green. On Eric’s retirement five years later, the name of the business was changed to Dodgshun Medlin and Partners, and Ian and Alan set about recruiting a bigger team – partly other city-based specialists wishing to return to the bush, and partly by investing in the education of home-grown youngsters.
But this was not to be a city office somehow teleported to the country. A significant part of the client base was agricultural and in many cases, Mallee farmers were struggling with an unforgiving environment. In 2002 Dodgshun Medlin established an agricultural division with a team of tertiary–qualified advisors, independent of any vested interest, and with an abiding passion for the land. During the subsequent decade this expanding team introduced new farming practices that changed the Mallee from a dustbowl into a reliable, productive winter cropping region.
With a resurgence of prosperity in the Mallee came revived retail and a rising industrial base and with that, a demand for a broader palette of specialties in professional services – and growth for Dodgshun Medlin. Today the business has more people on the team, offices in regional Victoria and South Australia, a newly–established suite in Collins Street and is actively expanding its footprint. Having served their own time in the big smoke, two of Ian’s sons – Mark and David – have joined the business in senior positions, while a third son, Nathan, manages the family’s Swan Hill farm, maintaining their firm roots in the land.
Within the coming decade, the goal is to have a presence in all of regional Australia, providing an excellent opportunity to professional services and agricultural specialists seeking a country ethic, and an excellent resource for all bound eternal to the matters of Land, Business and Life.
Lots of companies have formal statements of their Vision, Mission, Purpose and Values. In many cases, these amount to pretty words framed on a boardroom wall and bear little resemblance to their real–world operations.
May we assure you that our own set of statements are the ways we conduct ourselves, measure our success and grow as individuals and as a business.
Our overarching Vision is Growing Thriving Communities. Thriving communities consist of positive families made up of individuals who have clarity and certainty in their worlds. These people know what they aspire to, plan the path, and diligently work the plan.
The most important messages we can convey are (a) if you don’t know where you are going you are not going to get there and (b) that creating your Vision is not difficult. In fact, it’s already sitting inside you – and the group sessions we have established (see the Futures area in The Way We Work) are proving it. With gentle, logical facilitation, people like you are walking out, not only with a clear picture of what they want from life, but also with a five-year plan to get the journey started.
If you have the will, you can start working on your vision this instant. Dreaming on day-to-day gets you nowhere; thinking big and acting does.
Many large organisations give quite hefty donations to some of the bigger charities and this is to be applauded. Many much smaller businesses might support a local sporting team or donate goods and services as prizes for worthy raffles. This is also valuable in that many hands make light work.
Part of the Vision of our business is an absolute commitment to a culture of care – and we give back to our communities. But we look for a balance.
We do donate to bigger outfits such as Australian Red Cross and World Vision Australia. But the bulk of our contribution is to local educational and health services – not as blanket cash but for specific purposes. For example, enabling the Swan Hill District Hospital to begin replacing its intravenous infusion pumps, buying outdoor furniture for the aged and palliative care facility at Kerang Hospital, donating items as humble as a new photocopier for a volunteer fire team, or a new shower commode for the Ouyen Hospital. We find that this kind of support means a lot more to smaller, underfunded groups than one big cheque might to a high profile, nationwide or international organisation.
We also help schools and other community facilities with pro bono work, our team members are regular faces at drives such as The Red Shield Appeal and we become involved hands-on in projects like the creation of a community garden.