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10707053_781036305275799_1124360070_nChris Branch joined the Kolbe Catholic College community as a Year 8 student in the College’s foundation year, 1989.

The foundation year was made up of approximately 100 students, which saw the class become a tight group who took ownership over the school.

“It was like a really small pond with only a few big fish.

“I remember we only had a handful of rooms and buildings, with no oval for the first year and instead just lots of bushland,” Chris said.

Br Carey was the founding Principal and with no senior students in the first few years, Chris said the teachers were the only role models within the school.

“The teachers played a huge part in forming our behaviours and the future culture of the school.”

Following high school Chris went straight to Murdoch University to study Environmental Science.

“From being what was still a very small pond at Kolbe in Rockingham to a large university closer to the city was a big change, but I had a ball.”

Chris’ Environmental Science¬†degree saw him work for the WA Government in conservation before he made the decision to move to the Gold Coast, following frequent holidays there to watch the Quicksilver Pro surf event at Coolangatta.

He said that he rarely looks back after moving from WA, a decision which him and his wife don’t regret.

Chris worked many jobs on the Gold Coast, including caring for the Dolphin Pools at Sea World, Surfers Paradise restaurants and an ink company, before landing his current job as the Quicksilver Technical Product Manager for Asia Pacific.

“I design and manage production for Quicksilver and Roxy technical products which include wetsuits, watches, sunglasses and optics.

“So I work on the surf products from their concept, through the design process and into production until final delivery and sales in stores.”

He works closely with team riders, with heads of companies – both competitors (like Billabong) as well as customers (like David Jones), as well as a huge global team of talented and super passionate employees, so everyday brings something new.

Chris doesn’t let his job stop him from having a morning and often afternoon surf most days.

“I have great experiences every week and I ensure that if I’m bored I make an interesting experience out of whatever situation I find myself in.

He said it can be hard work with long hours but it also provides lots of domestic and overseas travel, with the head office being located in Biarritz, France.

“Every time I travel overseas, I always take at least one day to myself to explore.

“I’ve had some of the best experiences on these days and when meeting someone on the street in Copenhagen, explaining that I’m there because I’m on my day off from wetsuit meetings definitely gets an interesting response!”

Chris¬†encourages all students to be true to themselves and to spend time finding out what you’re interested in and passionate about.

“Do what it takes to find out exactly what roles there are available in that field and what they entail.

“People are always told to find a career path that interests you and to follow your passions, and so I thought I was doing this by chasing an Environmental degree, aiming for a good paying job on a mine site and to use that money to follow my passions.

“But once I tried to do this, it was almost impossible for me to be passionate about a job just to get a pay check.

“If you’re sitting at a desk that makes you uncomfortable, or a suit that makes your uncomfortable just so in a few months you can take a holiday before being back at the desk after the holiday, it just seems like a never ending hamster wheel.

“It’s so much easier to get out of bed in the morning when you’re going to a workplace that you love, full of like minded people who are all passionate about the same thing.”