The Adelaide Show Podcast putting South Australian passion on centre stage

262 – The cool history of Seeley International

Seeley International - Frank Seeley AM on The Adelaide Show Podcast

This week’s episode of The Adelaide Show, The cool history of Seeley International, is all about the Seeley International story, with our special guest, Frank Seeley AM.

Our song this week, is by the late, great Baterz.

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Running Sheet: The cool history of Seeley International

00:00:00 Intro
Comedy on September 11
00:01:40 Frank Seeley AM

Frank Seeley AM began his career selling portable, evaporative air conditioners, then making his own in his garage, and nowadays his company moves those air conditioners all around the world. So, when many complain about business conditions cooling down in South Australia, we’re going to spend an hour or so learning how Seeley International keeps things on the boil.

Let’s start with those portable evaporative coolers (is it coolers or air conditioners). Did they ever work?

There is some similarities here with Wolf Blass. He was working for someone else, then started buying their grapes to blend his own wine. How did you manage the transition from salesperson for someone else, to manafucturer and sales person of your own products?

What was your shed like and how did you fund your early work? Do you still tinker with the tools?

Why is 1983 an important milestone year in your life? (plastic air conditioners)

Did you ever foresee that you’d one day be producing the Climate Wizard? From what I’ve heard and seen, this is a remarkable breakthrough for evaporative cooling, especially for those of us who have it and find it doesn’t work the best when it is humid.

I noticed more humid days than usual last summer which makes me wonder. You have won awards for sustainable products, evaporative costs just a fraction to run compared to refrigerative cooling – where do you stand on global warming?

In 1985 you opened your first US office and a few years later won an Australian export award. Can you remember what that process was like?

You expanded into Europe from 1989 and lo and behold, a few years ago we learn you’ve won a deal to supply 50,000 Australian-made Breezair air conditioners to the tent city of Mina Valley, Saudi Arabia. You had to scale up. What was involved?

Other big names like Clipsal have turned to manufacturing off shore. Why do you do so much here in Australia? I ask this because my offsider, Nigel Dobson-Keeffe, had his first engineering placement here at Seeley and he was staggered by your approach to reinvesting revenue into Research and Development. Why do you do it?

Do you find your patriotism is Australia first or South Australia? I ask because the Victorian Government has lured you across the border. How much does payroll tax hurt?

I’m curious how you approached the Middle East deal for supplying air coolers for Islamic pilgrims. There were points in my fundamentalist past where I would have not wanted to help, but then in my more liberal theological days, I would have taken an ecumenical position and argued that we are all god’s creatures and we should be kind and generous to all.

Finally, what is good air cooler hygiene?

00:03:05 Musical Pilgrimage
This week, we relive a memory we first shared in episode 37. It is Target Air Conditioner by Baterz.

Here is this week’s preview video:

SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free sfx from for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal sfx, the wine pouring and cork pulling sfx, and the swooshes around Siri.

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