Julie, you have a reputation for being very enthusiastic about your role. Just how much do you love your job?

Just another day at the office … Julie Mark does hands-on research at Summer Land Camel Farm.

Just another day at the office … Julie Mark does hands-on research at Summer Land Camel Farm.

I totally love my job! I am genuinely excited to go to work each day because I have such a diverse and wonderful range of clients across my region. And I cover 4 great areas: Ipswich city, the Scenic Rim, the Lockyer Valley, and the Somerset area.

How did your working day start this morning?

I started my day by meeting with one of TIQ’s partners to discuss joint initiatives to provide even more help to the fantastic export-ready businesses in this region.

Who did you visit today? Who did you talk to?

First up I met with a large manufacturing facility in Ipswich who are very busy filling orders for Japan. I talked to them about their new product being manufactured for the Japanese market, and how a recent Queensland Government grant has helped them.

Then I drove 20km to Summer Land Camel Farm at Harrisville on the Scenic Rim to talk about some export opportunities for this business. This had the added bonus of being an opportunity to visit the camels at the farm — which I love!

Then back in the car for a 130km trip to Toowoomba to meet with a large development company to have a tour of their new project.

I saw a lot of different places and different clients, which is pretty typical.

You’ve helped a lot of businesses become exporters. Some stay the distance, some don’t. What do you think makes the difference?

The difference is the business being realistic and realising that exporting is a journey and takes a lot of time, relationship-building, and extra effort — both in day-to-day operations and financially.

The businesses that succeed also know their key point of difference, understand why their product or service will be suitable for a particular market, and have the discipline to focus on one market — not multiple markets at once!

What makes Ipswich region special? What do you love most about it?

I am so fortunate to cover 4 areas that are each unique and have a lot to offer, both from the businesses and the region itself. The people in these regions also make it special because they are mostly family businesses who not only want to grow their business but also want to improve the economic growth of the region they live in.

What I love most is the diversity of the region and how exciting it has been for me to discover some great products and services right on our doorstep. I call them the ‘hidden gems’ of regional Queensland.

What are some of the most unusual businesses that you’ve worked with?

I’d have to say that the camel farm is pretty unusual — but in a good way! They are doing great things, not only with their dairy products, but also with manufacturing amazing skincare products.

They’ve just started their export journey and are selling in Hong Kong, with other markets on the radar. Their location is spectacular, tucked away in the Scenic Rim … and I love having camel cuddles!

Summer Land Camel Farm on Queensland’s Scenic Rim is working on export plans with TIQ’s support.

Summer Land Camel Farm on Queensland’s Scenic Rim is working on export plans with TIQ’s support.

What are some of the successes you’re most proud of?

I’m proud of the progress made in less than a year since we opened the Ipswich region office. I feel that TIQ’s profile has been raised in a positive manner and we have been able to help a lot of companies start their export journey. I’ve facilitated export outcomes in a variety of sectors and promoted the region for investment opportunities.

I’m especially proud of the companies (mostly start-ups) who are new exporters. They’ve stepped out of their comfort zones and taken the big step to now being known as exporters. It has been very rewarding being part of their journey.

How did you end up being a trade and investment advisor in Ipswich region?

I’ve been with TIQ for 8 years in a variety of roles and I felt that my experience and knowledge in various senior trade and investment roles would be beneficial to businesses in the region. I’ve also lived in Ipswich for many years and used to help run a family business in the region too, so I felt that my local knowledge and small-business knowledge would be helpful.

I really enjoy my role and feel that I provide a valuable service to local businesses and I love interacting with businesses daily.

If I’m a small business in regional Queensland, it’s easy to feel like the rest of the world is very far away, and exporting is a remote dream. What do you say to that?

Exporting is a journey, and it’s a journey that TIQ likes to take with our businesses, facilitating amazing opportunities for them to succeed.

Nothing is impossible and, through TIQ and Austrade’s international network, we can bring the world to your business, and your business to the world.