Where are they now – Jamie Crain (SPC 1987-92)
March 30, 2022
The College recently reconnected with Old Collegian Jamie Crain (SPC 1987-92) who recounts many wonderful memories of his time at SPC, including boatrace, cadet and boarding fun, ice-cold swimming dares and the staff members who left a positive impression.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
Definitely not where I thought it would take me! I was keen to join the Air Force and fly like my elder brothers and old man, so I earned my private license when I was at SPC.
After several failed attempts to join the RAAF in the years following school, I finally got the message – so I did the obvious thing, moved to the UK and became an accountant. I spent the best part of 10 years within the British Airways group, not flying of course but in loyalty and revenue management and it was an absolute hoot.
I had the privilege of completing my MBA at Henley Business School before returning to Australia in 2008 with my wife Sharon, and two kids Lexie and Dan.
Since then, I’ve worked in a variety of corporate and commercial roles in several industries and early last year I joined Sports Medicine Australia as CEO.
How is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affecting your work and industry?
The pandemic was something of a double-edged sword. Workwise it was terrible. The uncertainty meant everyone sat on their hands and not much happened.
However, like many, I took the opportunity to reflect and place lesser priority on many of the stress-inducing things that I used to do as a matter of course and a higher priority on personal time.
This meant I was in no rush to resume the fast-paced corporate world that I’d been used to for so many years.
Even as things are returning to normal, I am keen to retain many of the new ways of working and managing life.
If nothing else, the pandemic has shown that we can have high productivity AND lower intensity, but we need to actively manage it.
Do you have family ties with SPC?
My two elder brothers went through SPC before me but there was only one year overlap as they were a few years older.
What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
With six years at SPC, my head is full of memories though I probably can’t list some of them here! The sense of camaraderie could be very strong at times, eg boatrace, especially when we won. Choc Camp (cadets). The freak golfball hailstorm in 1989 where we thought running around outside while we got pelted was a good idea. Sneaking back to school after dark, climbing over the fence, only to hear Br Zoch quietly speak from the darkest of shadows, “Most normal people use the front gate.” Terrifying but funny.
At our Year 10 retreat in Dean’s Marsh in mid-winter, one of the other boys and myself foolishly swam across the icy swimming pool just for a dare. There was literally ice in the water and I still remember it vividly. Later on, we dared our teacher Mr Sharkey to do the same and I’ll never forget the panic and instant regret on his face when he hit the water. He took it well though. Good times.
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
My first thought would be Jake Farley, because of his presence; he was unforgettable! I took my wife Sharon to visit the school in 2001 and we bumped into Jake. Instead of saying hello and carrying on his business, he proceeded to take us on a two-hour grand tour of the whole school! It was like I’d never left.
Mr Martino’s classes were always engaging but Al Rossetto’s history lessons were probably the best because we had great discussions, it didn’t feel like studying.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
To be honest my VCE results weren’t brilliant, so it’s fair to say I learnt the hard way and had to make up for it later. Through that process I learned that a solid education can get you a foot in the door. Without it, you may not even get a chance to show people your best side.
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
I think SPC taught me the values of fairness and resilience. Boarding could be a pretty tough environment at times and you had to be resilient and also learn to live with so many others. I can still hear Br Zoch’s mantra “consideration for others” loud and clear!
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Keep trying lots of things, you might find something that you like that you weren’t expecting. Keep your options open and have a Plan B. Or you can always become an accountant.