Action speaks louder than words
In 2010, partners Wang Yu Feng (Bill) and Peter Banovich got together and decided to form a construction company that could service the natural resources industry in Australia. They envisioned a company with a suite of contracting services, a dedicated team, and an ability to exceed the expectations of clients. When they acquired Karridale Group (KG) that vision became a reality.
At the beginning of Bill and Peter’s partnership, the global economic crisis was in full swing, but Australia’s resource industry seemed to be going strong. The two partners saw an opportunity to expand KG’s capabilities and range of services to meet the growing demands of the market – which is what they did.
Today, the company services the major Australian mining centres of the Western Australia and the Northern Territory. They have the capacity to work anywhere in Australia, however, and are even evaluating international opportunities.
According to Business Development Manager Evan Tweedie, KG has few limits when it comes to the size of their projects. He describes their “sweet spot,” however, as being projects that fall into the $10 to $30 million range.
“This allows us to take on two or three projects at the same time,” he explains.
KG’s abilities in this sector cover quite a bit of ground – from engineering, procurement, civil construction, structural, mechanical, and piping installation, to electrical systems and instrumentation, commissioning, and asset management.
“Bill comes from a third generation business family with very strong connections to the Chinese engineering, manufacturing and commodities sectors,” Evan explains. “And Peter has spent his entire career in the natural resources industry in Western Australia.”
With their shared business acumen and complimentary expertise, Bill and Peter have been leading the group to steady growth and new opportunities.
Extending their reach
Soon after the foundation of the group, there were 16 individuals employed directly with KG. By 2012, that number had grown to in excess of 200 experienced and talented employees. Tweedie himself joined the management team a little over one year ago, and brought with him roughly 20 years of experience in the business development field – and most of the positions he held were directly related to the resources industry.
“It has been a lot of fun, but it is demanding just keeping up with the growth the company has experienced,” he says.
He credits that growth, largely, to the dedication of their workforce – and also to the values Bill and Peter have instilled in every level of the company.
“Our core values have really helped, and we bring a lot of passion to the table,” he says. “Peter is passionate about what he does. He really believes in looking after your people, looking after the client and making sure that we all come out the other end happy with each other and willing to do something else together again.”
That passion, according to Tweedie, flows through to the rest of the workforce. He says that’s how they have earned a reputation as both an employer and construction company of choice.
“We get lots of phone calls on a daily basis from guys who have heard about us and really want to work for us,” he says. “And once we get some experience with a client they find that we are very attentive and caring.”
While the business can and does take on large projects, Tweedie says that the senior management still is very involved in the day-to-day operations. “Peter is on site as we speak right now, we have a job in the Northern Territory. He makes sure he is there to listen to our customers, and see the guys on the work site.”
“Employees or clients – we never want them to feel like they are just a number,” he adds.
Tweedie says that while “every company out there” might say similar things, he believes that the actions of KG back their words up.
“Once a client sees us, and works with us, they realise the difference,” he says.
KG’s clients are not the only ones who have seen the difference. This year, the Australian Business Awards recognised the company as well, bestowing on them the award for Enterprise in their industry classification.
In their write-up, the Australian Business Awards credited the award to KG’s success on Citic Pacific’s Iron Ore Project in the Pilbara. This single project brought up KG’s employee numbers from 16 to 200, with another 50 subcontractors and an additional team 30 Chinese visa workers. Their success with this project has opened up more opportunities, as they are now being considered for two additional contracts.
Building the pipeline
“There are about 90 odd opportunities that we are in the process of developing,” says Tweedie, who adds that KG is showing no signs of slowing down. “These projects are at various stages of their gestation period, so they are still getting approvals, financing, design and engineering. We work with them during this time and get involved as a contractor early to bring them the benefits of adding a hands-on quality to things like budget prices, ‘constructability’ and consolidation and optimisation of construction activities.”
KG’s dedication to due diligence and process has streamlined their approach to every project they take on. They are committed to safety at all stages, they have a sterling environmental record, and they are dedicated to the continuous improvement of their systems and their people. When combined, those qualities make them one of the most attractive contractors on the market.
“We want our supervisors and project managers and the skilled workforce treated like family, kept in the loop, and we want to keep them happy and safe.”
Tweedie reiterates that although they are a young company by many standards, their abilities are growing – as are their certifications and reputation in the industry.
For more information, please visit their website at: Karridale Group
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