Sean Buckley: A Caring and Passionate Business Leader Ascending Zeniths

Sean Buckley, Executive Chairman, Ultra Tune

Caring for things is a basic human tendency. And in the business landscape, it is not only good to sincerely care for employees, but to master it with the intent to improve productivity and decrease employee turnovers.

However, for business leaders, there isn’t one single trick to achieve all of this. Instead, the best effects on team’s morale and organizational results are a combination of positive practices.

Positive practices are best applied by leaders who demonstrate these positive values. By making a positive tone, leaders can enhance the well-being, teamwork, commitment, and overall corporate performance of their employees.

We commence our special edition, ‘The 10 Most Innovative CEOs Revamping the Future,’ with featuring a positive and caring leader who treats the company and the employees as his own family. We would like you to meet Sean Buckley, Executive Chairman of Ultra Tune.

Mr. Buckley was born and raised in the eastern suburbs of Victoria. He attended high school at Mazenod College in Mulgrave. After obtaining his High School Certificate, he went on to Chisholm Institute to complete a Bachelor of Business and Marketing degree, graduating in 1984.

Mr. Buckley was later appointed as consumer development analyst for Safeway/Woolworths, focusing on new stores and innovative product ranges. In 1988, he travelled with Thomas Cook to Hong Kong, and established offices in India and Pakistan. In 1994, he returned to Australia and soon afterwards began working with Ultra Tune.

Mr. Buckley also helms the chair of leadership with utmost dedication and seriousness. He asserts, “I am largely responsible for the livelihood of thousands of people across our network. I consider Ultra Tune as my family and I make business decisions with this in mind. I would rather lose a million dollars than do the wrong thing by my ‘family’. For me, one of the most important traits any businessman should exemplify is loyalty. My intent is always to act in a loyal, truthful and mutually beneficial manner in business to ensure win/win/win scenarios – wins for our customers, wins for our franchisees and wins for Ultra Tune Australia.

With this unity, Mr. Buckley has been able surpass any hurdles that came across Ultra Tune with ease. There was a time when he was overseas for an extended period of time and could not take part in the ongoing court case with the ACCC. Once he returned to Australia, the issue was rectified, which was just an operational issue.

It was just a glitch which could have stained the company’s stellar 40 years of operational legacy. That moment taught Mr. Buckley one of the greatest lessons i.e. he needs to keep his finger on the pulse of the organization at all time.

The implications could have been catastrophic, however, being such a well-established and credible company allowed it to ride this setback out and thereafter the company has comeback stronger and more effective than ever before.

The current pandemic also brought enormous challenges for Mr. Buckley. He has been forced to make tough decisions over the last six months. Once again, a profound combination of a sound management team, great network of franchisees, and thinking and adapting to changed circumstances have allowed Ultra Tune to survive better than many other comparable companies.

We’re clearly not out of the woods yet, but by maintaining an adaptive and proactive approach, I’m confident, five years from now Ultra Tune will continue to be the leading independently owned auto-service company in Australia,” asserts Mr. Buckley.

Besides being the Executive Chairman of the Ultra Group of Companies, Mr. Buckley also sits on the Board of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), the professional body that represents independent car repairers.

Furthermore, in December of 2016, he even represented the body at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into the monopoly where new car manufacturers were attempting to sustain on after sales servicing.

Additionally, Mr. Buckley has a great passion for Thoroughbred Horse racing and owns Ultra Thoroughbred Racing, a breeding stud, pre-training, and racing enterprise.

On the personal side, Mr. Buckley understands the course of nature and knows that as he will grow older, he will be less hungry for the business from the professional perspective. As such, he likes to enjoy more time with his three beautiful daughters. However, he believes that there still lies a learning curve for him to master.

His older daughters are now in their late teens, looking to establish their own careers, and Mr. Buckley hopes to guide them to not to make the same mistakes he made. Inversely, his youngest daughter is only two and he says that watching her explore and learn about the world is a joy – seeing someone so young and unspoiled by society is wonderful. Being loved unconditionally by a little angel, fills Mr. Buckley’s heart with happiness.

Taking account of all the variables, Mr. Buckley does see the business expanding over the next few years. He says, “There are some key changes occurring to legislation here in Australia in 2020 which will ultimately make for a far fairer playing field in the auto-servicing market. I believe dealerships will contract and open up more opportunities for Ultra Tune across the country. We also have plans – which are already being rolled out – to provide more trained auto-technicians into the marketplace.

About Ultra Tune

Established in 1979 with its first centre in Box Hill, Victoria, Ultra Tune has expanded nationally to become a leader in automotive after sales servicing. It is 100% Australian owned with more than 270 centres operating throughout Australia.

Ultra Tune’s growth is steeped in a tradition of quality, affordable service with a vision towards an evolving, ever-changing future. Following its inception, Ultra Tune expanded rapidly. In 1983, it was split into state organizations including South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland owned by local groups of franchisees. Whilst the South Australian group remained independent until 2017, in 1988 the three eastern states merged and with the expansion into Western Australia formed Ultra Tune Systems (Australia) Pty Ltd. In 1994 the business was purchased by Ultra Tune Australia Pty Ltd and since then has grown to become one of Australia’s largest automotive franchise networks, with more than 270 franchise centres nationally.

Ultra Tune specializes in the maintenance and servicing of all popular makes and models of motor vehicles in the Australian market, providing a wide range of servicing options including manufacturer’s handbook servicing, tuning, air-conditioning servicing, and general repairs.

In 2013, Ultra Tune launched its phenomenally successful tire program. Working closely with leading tire importers, Ultra Tune now supplies and fits high quality, affordable tires to a range of passenger, 4×4 and light commercial vehicles.

The firm also offers corporate and government fleet management services, as well as a nationwide Roadside Assistance Program providing the customers a peace of mind in knowing that should something go wrong, the road assistance is not far away. Following a service or repair at Ultra Tune, the firm provides roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year on most vehicles.

Ultra Tune is widely regarded as Australia’s leading independently owned auto-service network in Australia. With some 270 stores across the country in every state apart from Tasmania where the company hopes to open the franchisee soon. Annually, it services over 500,000 vehicles across the network and has been rated number one by Canstar Blue – an objective, independent nationally recognized review service – three out of the last four years.

About Ultra Thoroughbred Racing

Ultra Thoroughbreds currently owns about 300 racehorses and has bred, sold, and raced a number of Group One winning horses in Australia and around the world with the most notable being:

  • Andretti, the 2007 Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year and is the only Thoroughbred in racing history to simultaneously hold a total of five track records in Australia and England.
  • Shamus Award, the 2013 Cox Plate. “Shamus” is notable for being the only horse in the history of the race to win it as a maiden
  • 2020 Australian Horse of the Year – Nature Strip.