Over the Ditch: Starbuck

Starbuck goes pink to support women in construction


Jimmy Starbuck and Matt Thorne from Melbourne Tractors

James Starbuck (Jimmy) from Starbuck Group is a larger-than-life personality in the earthmoving industry in Australia, specifically Melbourne, and runs a high achieving business.

He’s quick to point out the business today would not be operating or be as successful as it is without his team, who are all more than happy to put in the hard yards to ensure the business maintains its high reputation.

Three generations of Starbuck family earthmovers have been at the helm of the company, growing the group over decades and the mindset of passing the company down to the next generation.

It’s part of the reason why Jimmy, with the help of Kobelco Australia and local Kobelco distributor Melbourne Tractors, is trying to raise awareness that earthmoving is not just for blokes but to a huge extent kept in motion by the many hard-working females who have broken into the once male-dominated industry.

Jimmy’s daughter – the fourth-generation of Starbuck Earthmovers

"For me personally, it’s a conversation starter to show Starbuck Group is a supportive workplace, where in 10 years, I’ll be proud that my daughter will walk onto a worksite and be seen for her abilities and skills rather than anything else.

A pink machine and that goal being in the forefront of my mind might just help make that happen," says Jimmy.

Jimmy Starbuck and Taylah Barton – the operator of the SK135

Even though the pink Kobelco SK135SR, which will be operated by one of Starbucks latest recruitments Taylah Barton, is brand new, the idea of not discounting potential staff members based on their gender is anything but new at Starbuck.

Taylah Barton, Matt Thorne, and Jimmy Starbuck 

"To name just a few, both the chief financial officer as well as the chief operations officer of the group are females, who have earned their voice at the table through nothing but years of hard work.

Their high-level skillsets and love for the industry make them the best person for the role," says Jimmy. "The reason behind purchasing this digger in pink is to invite more women into the industry.

We’re lucky in Australia that women are already part of the construction industry, but for people outside of the industry who may not know about this fact, we’d like to use it as a conversation piece to highlight that women can operate machinery, that women can have big careers in the field, that the new generation knows there’s a future in construction.

It’s a great industry to be a part of," says Aurelia Pirvu, Starbuck Group chief operations officer. Of course, as with anything that is a little bit outside of the box, anything that is a little bit daring, people will be quick to judge, and according to Jimmy his social media accounts, with an Instagram following close to 50k, has been a hotbed for supporters and nay-sayers alike, as well as people who think it’s a waste of time and that buying a pink machine isn’t going to change anything.

"But as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so in our mind, this idea is one that has to be supported in full," says Jimmy. "With this digger, we obviously don’t expect things to change overnight.

The intention behind it is to bring awareness and have people who don’t know much about the industry who could potentially be a great fit, spot the machine in traffic or on a worksite and from there get curious, Google it and to hopefully be encouraged to enter the field," says Aurelia.

A larger pink Kobelco SK235SR is already on the water from Japan and will be joining the Starbuck team in 2023.

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