Ken Rathgen, Managing Director of MLA Holdings, has been with the company since its foundation in 1980. Ken knows the business, and at 83 has more than 60 years of experience and knowledge under his belt. Starting out as an apprentice draftsman as a young man, after a while Ken ended up at Brambles Industries in its fork truck hire branch, which started him on his journey to MLA. I was general manager of CHEP Equipment; that was the fork truck hire section of Brambles, Ken explains.
In 1970, I got a letter from a guy called Jiro Kanamori asking if I would be interested in selling forklift trucks. At Brambles, we didnt sell forklift trucks; we just rented them. So at that stage we agreed to take on this dealership, which was Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks. Mr Kanamori was with a trading company called T. Chatani. This trading company was introducing the Mitsubishi forklift trucks to Australia [!for!]. I formed a very good relationship with the people of both Mitsubishi and Chatani and we imported their forklift trucks and started selling the Mitsubishi trucks in Australia at CHEP.