“I am very happy with where we’re at – considering the troubles of the world around us I think we’re doing remarkably well.’’ Sounds like someone talking about how they’re surviving the Covid-19 pandemic, right?
Wrong. It was actually said on March 3 this year when corona was a new virus in Wuhan, China.
The speaker was Steve Kalamvokis, the founder of Atlantic Oil, pictured above. He was responding to a question about how his company was going 23 years after he established it with his business partner.
Let’s get one thing clear from the get go: Atlantic Oil is a big player in the national market.
The company, which manufactures top shelf oils, lubricants and fluids at its large purpose built facility in Liverpool Street, Ingleburn, pictured below, employs more than 50 people and has a presence in virtually all states and territories across Australia.
“We practise best industry standards, we’re accredited, we’re part of the Australian Lubricant Society and we also receive the American Petroleum Institute approval,’’ says Steve.
“We also get our products approved by the big companies like Volvo and others.’’
The key to Atlantic Oil and their success is that they are big enough to offer oil products that are the result of world’s best practice.
On the other hand, when it comes to the service they offer their customers, Atlantic Oil is as good as a small, family size operation.
“So what you’ve get from us is product at the level of the multinationals, but service at a boutique level, because we know the clients on a first name basis,’’ says Steve.
This approach can be traced back to the mid 1990s, when Steve Kalamvokis was at university studying law and was on the lookout for a part time job to pay the bills.
He ended up getting a full time job as the customer service officer for an oil company and did the university degree part time.
He quickly became aware the feedback he was getting from the clients painted a poor picture of the oil company.
“I was trying to solve clients’ issues on a day to day basis but I was getting more headaches than anything else,’’ says Steve.
It was 1996 and that’s when the penny dropped.
“I realised the company I was working for wasn’t really addressing people’s complaints and needs, so I thought I could do a better job,’’ he says.
He hooked up with other like minded people and Atlantic Oil were on their way.
“My business partner was the chemist for a company that was making oil and we both thought we could do a better job,’’ says Steve.
“I always wanted to be self employed, and it worked out OK because we’re still here 23 years later.’’
Atlantic Oil, which has so far negotiated the stormy waters of Covid-19, doesn’t just make the best oil products possible and provide clients with service that’s second to none.
It also puts a lot of emphasis on community engagement, both here in South Western Sydney where its headquarters are located and wherever it operates across the country.
It includes being the major sponsor and naming rights for drag racing’s East Coast Thunder in Sydney, the opening round in the annual 400 Thunder series.
Every year the company holds a golf day and lunch for clients at Macquarie Links.
“We also sponsor the Northern Territory girls hockey team; it helps them get to their end of year sporting trips and so on,’’ says Steve.
“Here in South West Sydney we sponsor local footy teams, league, union, soccer teams – we try to do a lot for the local community, where most of our employees live.
“This is very important because I know what it’s like to not have the latest football boots, gear, or be able to go to events or that team camping trip because you have no money.
“If we can’t help the community then there’s something wrong there.’’
So what’s ahead for Atlantic Oils?
“The focus for us now is to consolidate the relationships we have, becoming an integral part of the community, locally here but also everywhere else where we have offices,’’ he says.
“And hopefully have a workforce that is happy, and united, all working for the same cause – and a seamless transition to the next generation at some point in time.’’