Leigh Rust: An Audacious Business Leader and Idealistic Thinker

Leigh Rust, Co-founder &Director of Safetyline Jalousie Louvre Windows
Leigh Rust, Co-founder and Director, Safetyline Jalousie Louvre Windows

Due to the constant change in business processes the world has transformed into a small global village; a village in which there is a huge stream of contentions and competitions between organizations. In this scenario the most effective and beneficial practice for any organization is to create innovative ways in conducting business. This dissertation deals with the responsibility of leadership in the phenomena of organizational change and innovation. Leigh Rust is such an innovative leader who drives his organization’s success by combining a modern innovative approach with a visionary attitude.

Leigh Rust is the Co-founder and Director of Safetyline Jalousie Louvre Windows. The company is the market leader in producing high-quality performance louvre window systems. He asserts “Our product is used in various projects across the country, including classrooms, multi-residential developments, sporting complexes, social housing and correctional facilities.” He adds, one thing that sets them apart from their competitors is that the company’s products are built to last.

One of the company’s key strengths lies in the short time it takes from providing a quote to being installed on the project. “In some cases, we’ve been able to achieve this in just three weeks,” says Leigh. As a company, Safetyline Jalousie prides itself on its relationships with government departments, architects, builders, and design managers. The services are personalized, and the teams are informative, accessible, and approachable.

In 2020, Leigh Rust was selected as the Sydney Young Entrepreneur of the Year ‘Property & Construction’ and Outstanding Leadership Awards: Finalist Australian Men in Leadership.

Beginning as a Business Leader

From a young age, Leigh Rust and his brother were exposed to business, entrepreneurship, and development through their father ’s manufacturing company (Vergola). “I saw what our dad was able to create and the strong work ethic he put into everything he did. I knew I wanted that for myself,” says Leigh.

After becoming a qualified mechanic, Leigh worked his way up through the ranks at Vergola and after 10 years, Leigh and his brother made the leap to launch their own venture – establishing Safetyline Jalousie in 2010. In the past decade, the company has grown from a small family operation based in Sydney to a multi-million-dollar company with offices in Queensland, Victoria, and Malaysia.

As an Australian-based company, Safetyline Jalousie is proud to support local manufacturing, producing its high-performance louvre window onshore to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Notes on Impactful Leadership

Leigh believes in an open door leadership style, with a flat management structure. His idea of impactful leadership is to lead by example and empower others. He established a great culture at Safetyline Jalousie where everyone works hard, gets along well and is passionate about what they are doing. He opines “I encourage my team to set their own goals and objectives which they can take ownership of and are accountable for – knowing that they have my support along the way.” He adds, fostering this healthy and collaborative team environment, where the staff feel valued and comfortable bringing their ideas to the table, has always been important.

Facing Pandemic Head-to-Head

Like every business owner, Covid posed a whole new level of challenges that Leigh had not faced before. For the company, Leigh is always looking to push forward and see how it can grow, but with a lot that was out of control, it was difficult to know what specific goals the team could work to.

According to Leigh, the team knew it was going to be more important than ever to maintain visibility, so they focused their efforts on PR and lobbying the government after the announcement of a $17.6 billion stimulus package designed to support the construction industry. By meeting with politicians and government representatives, Leigh made sure they knew about what Safetyline Jalousie was doing, allowing it to create mutually beneficial relationships moving forward.

Needed Changes in the Industry

On industry development, Leigh believes one thing that should change is to get more people to care about the things that are not tangible and to want to purchase quality, Australian-made, sustainable products. He finds that people can be much more money-driven in his industry than they are outcome-driven. Decisions are often made based on what is going to be cheapest at that point in time without much consideration of the long-term impacts.

In manufacturing, the idea of developing ‘sustainable’ products can often be thrown around as a buzzword; however, getting more companies to actually care about this, and work towards lowering emissions is so important.

Learn, Plan and Achieve

Leigh’s advice for the next generation of business leaders is “work hard, be confident in your abilities and surround yourself with people who inspire you and want to celebrate your successes.” From his experience, he has learnt that quick money does not last, so one needs to roll up their sleeves and do the hard yards. In the times that are tough one draw upon resilience – this is something he has developed through over a decade in entrepreneurship.

Today, in a work environment that is continually changing it is essential to look for opportunities for learning, growth, and development. Leigh adds, plan for future, be adaptive and flexible. Consider long-term goals and write down all the different tactics that will allow you to achieve them.