The German shepherd looks lost – out of his depth – way out in the middle of a big Queenstown cricket pitch. He doesn’t know where to look. At his owner? The crowd? That stupid dirt-cloud of fleece!? His owner urges him to herd. Commands are shouted: “Fetch” and “Drive.” Still, the now-unshepherd German, looking at the five sheep, shows occasional vestiges of insight, but nothing comes of it.
A black-and-white Border Collie watches from the sidelines. She’s got dust on her face, matched by a huge smile as her eyes dart back and forth. She’s already made her owner proud by fetching and herding the stupid fleece balls in record time. Yet she’s eager for another go.
How does a single dog get so many sheep to move so efficiently in the same direction? Carl Ranger, a Senior CEO Dispute Resolution Official, and whose family has been breeding Border Collies for over a century says that collies and other sheepdogs use just two very simple rules. The dog’s first rule is to bind the sheep together by weaving around side-to-side at their backs. Once this has been achieved, it implements the second rule and drives the group forward. “If the dog sees gaps between the sheep, or the gaps are getting bigger, the dog needs to bring them together.” Carl explains: “At every step, the dog decides if the herd is cohesive enough or not. “If not cohesive, it will make it cohesive, but if it’s already cohesive, the dog will push the herd towards the target.” Carl and his family have a big love for animals, especially Border Collies, for which they have a pure-bred bloodline that stems back to the 1900’s from his father’s side.
The desire for cohesiveness and drive is profoundly emblematic of Carl’s family and upbringing. He was born and raised in the Eastern Cape. Both his parents come from English farming families. “They pushed me to excel from a young age at whatever I do,” he says. “My mother always also taught me to go the extra mile in the things that I do, and that I shouldn’t do something unless I am going to do it properly – something I try to apply in my work.” Carl says both his parents are very hard working and disciplined, as well as creative and fun in their approaches to family life and business. “Because of them, I have an insatiable desire to be the best I can be in whatever I do, but I have adapted that competitiveness in a more kind and loving way on myself rather than being the best ‘at all costs.’ At the end of the day, I just want to be better than the person I was yesterday.”
Carl spent his entire schooling career at Queen’s College in Queenstown, before attending the University of the Free State in 2010 to study, and to run athletics, as he had attended the South African Junior Athletics in 2009 for the 400m. He was accepted for medicine as his first choice of study but chose to pursue a career in law instead.
Carl was admitted and practising as an Attorney, specialising in civil and criminal litigation in the Magistrates, Regional and High Court. He says he was always intrigued by Labour Law but did not have many opportunities to work in it with the litigation that he was doing. When he heard of an opportunity at CEO, he decided to take the chance and make the jump. “I am very happy that I did, as it has been very rewarding,” he gleams. “I believe that the work that we do is unique, with a special blend of litigation, and dispute resolution where creativity can flow in resolving disputes. I believe that what we do, and our approach at CEO, really does make a difference to our members, and others. I enjoy how flexible, dynamic, inventive and progressive CEO is,” Carl states. “CEO is very teamwork orientated, social and inclusive which makes it fun as well. I appreciate the effort that the CEO leadership puts in internally for us, and that makes it more than just a workplace and a job, which I believe assists us in making even more of a difference externally in the work we do.”
After over three years of attending hundreds of cases as a Dispute Resolution Official, Carl has only ever lost one case. He has successfully resolved or managed to dismiss/argue withdrawal of all other disputes against CEO members. “What truly sets CEO apart is our unique, inventive, professional, and personal approach to the work we do, and how we handle disputes, as well as our members. There are open lines of communication internally and externally, and our success rate with the disputes we handle, whether through litigation or resolving them amicably – speaks for itself.”
Carl’s colleagues and loved ones describe him as a positive, happy-go-lucky, loving and imaginative person. “He has a good sense of humour, loves food, is adventurous and sporty – oh and he can ‘nerd-out’ from time to time!” his partner reports.
The organised, creative, ambitious animal lover – like our border collie friends – is consistently looking for ways to make his life more cohesive and meaningful. He was once told by someone at school that he would never be a good sprinter in athletics. He took up athletics as a sport for the first time towards the end of grade year 11, during an annual interhouse athletics school event where he came 3rd in 100m, 2nd in 200m and 1st in 400m. “After a few months in my matric year, I had qualified for, and attended, the South African Junior Athletics Event for 400m.”
When asked to describe a vision of his future, Carl says he sees himself in a position of leadership in his work, enjoying different experiences and cultures through travelling with his partner, and their dogs, in their time off. “Overall, just being at peace and happy with who I am, and my life and work.” Something tells us he’s already rounding up that vision and more!