Dianne Ruggeri of Europanels, Victoria was the first 2016 finalist in the Women in Smash awards.
Europanels is a beautiful boutique shop in Geelong, Victoria. It has won best small shop in the Paint & Panel awards both for its state and nationally twice and Dianne Ruggeri is an essential pillar that supports this highly professional repair facility.
It's very much a family run business – Dianne works with husband Peter and the next Ruggeri generation brother and sister team, Carly and Jake.
It was Carly who nominated Dianne, describing her role as office liaison, head of human-resources, bookkeeping, first aid, quality assurance and OHS officer.
"Dianne is an asset to our company. She has dedicated 20 years of her life to be a part of this family we call Europanels. Dianne has introduced numerous processes that are vital to the operations of our company today. Some of which include customer relations, human-resources, development of our claims department, designing of our estimation-form, qualified testing-tagging and a LMCT," Carly said.
"Over the years keeping up with the progression of small business in this industry and its dramatic changes is a challenge. Dianne is one of our leaders, the key former in the set-up of our company policies and procedures and is effective in maintaining our company efficiency. She has established and driven the 'culture-in- management' and is a huge reason for the success of our company today," she said.
Dianne spent 18 years as a watchmaker and before that was involved in her family's bakery business. "You learn to turn your hand to anything – from doing the accounts to baking bread."
When she married Peter and he needed help in the business she rapidly adapted. "You learn what you have to quickly and then you keep on learning," she said. Despite being a great manager and skilled panel beater, Peter is not as one with a computer so it fell to Dianne to oversee the office management.
As well as being a key player in Europanels, Dianne is also the only woman on the BRD of the VACC. "It's very helpful in keeping up with what's happening in the industry and with insurance agreements. You get a bigger picture of the whole industry and our mutual problems," she said.
"Dianne has a true passion, constantly expanding her knowledge, refining our company and improving the industry," Carly said. "She thinks outside the square and her ideas and class have certainly made a difference to our company. Dianne's a true-star in our eyes and we are forever grateful for her hard work and dedication."
As well as being a qualified watchmaker, Dianne also has a diploma of management, a first aid certificate, a qualification in electrical testing and tagging and is a licensed motor vehicle trader and valuer.