Frank founded Seeley International – now Australia’s leading manufacturer of heating and cooling systems – in the early 1970s. After selling portable evaporative coolers, Frank decided to start manufacturing them himself – and to build them better… much better.
The biggest problem at that time was the issue of corroding metal parts. Frank’s epiphany was to develop the world’s first-ever all-plastic cooler. While most people told him it couldn’t be done, Frank persisted. He began in his garage at home in suburban Adelaide, South Australia, and from there he set up a manufacturing operation which produced 1,000 coolers in the first year. After successfully developing the first all-plastic portable coolers, Frank went on to develop the world’s first all-plastic rooftop coolers. This wasn’t just a breakthrough for Seeley; it was a breakthrough for the entire industry. The all-plastic coolers helped grow the whole rooftop cooling market in Australia from 12,000 coolers each year to around 70,000.
“Innovation is the elixir of success”.
– Frank Seeley AM, DUniv Flin, FAICD
The plastic coolers became, and remain, the industry standard. Today, Seeley International employs more than 500 people, has manufacturing operations at Lonsdale, South Australia and Albury, New South Wales, sales offices in each mainland state, as well as in the USA and throughout western Europe, and exports to more than 100 countries. Seeley’s brands are all market leaders in their field in Australia – and several of them, right around the world – in evaporative cooling and ducted gas heating.
Frank is committed to the rebirth of Australian consumer products manufacturing and has a philosophy of vertical integration.
Frank is committed to the rebirth of Australian consumer products manufacturing and has a philosophy of vertical integration. This means that most of the components built into Seeley International products are made right here in Australia.
One of the key drivers behind Seeley International’s success has been Frank’s commitment to the continual promotion of excellence in all that it does. Another is his catch-cry – “If enough of us keep right on innovating and automating, then there’s a huge and prosperous future for the Australian manufacturing industry!”
He has faced adversity many times – including economic crisis and having his business completely destroyed by fire – twice – but still makes a significant contribution to the community. Frank and his wife, Kathy (also a director of Seeley International), are heavily involved in church and charitable work. Frank not only donates thousands of dollars each year to worthy causes but also encourages others to do the same.