Primero Group

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Primero Group is a West Australian-based company that provides engineering, management and construction solutions to the mining, infrastructure and oil & gas industries. From the top down, their team is highly skilled and multi-disciplined, and they have the ability to fast track projects from concept through to implementation – while still delivering optimal results every step of the way.

“We work together with our customers to produce the highest quality results, and offer the best service we can,” says Cameron Henry, Managing Director of the company. “We’re committed to exceeding expectations and driving projects forward.”

Cameron has been in the industry for more than 15 years, and has worked with various companies throughout the mining and oil and gas industries. Over time, he has served in trade roles, project engineering roles, and eventually worked his way up to design and project management. Roughly two years ago, he and the other founders of Primero Group were working together at another company, and decided to make a change.

“We used to talk about starting our own company some day when we were at the pub, on Friday’s at lunchtime,” he recalls. “We thought we could do the work for ourselves, and be own bosses, and make the changes we wanted.”

At the time, the company they were at had grown to a point where they were only taking on larger projects. Cameron and the others saw a “large void” in the market when it came to small-to-medium projects, and formed Primero Group to fill that void.

A full service

Today, Primero Group mainly works in Western Australia, but has also started to establish a national footprint, starting on the east coast. Their work has included small to hydrocarbon storage and distribution facilities, minerals processing facilities, onshore gas processing and compression facilities, and other small to mid-sized EPC projects.

According to Cameron, the company is set apart by two key factors – the niche work they pursue, and the full, multi-disciplinary service they provide.

“We’re not chasing anything too large,” he explains. “We’re looking for projects in the $1 million to $25 million range. There are very few companies in the marketplace that take on that work, and even fewer who have the skills to handle a project throughout its entire lifecycle, from design to completion.”

By offering a turnkey design and construction service, Primero Group can create efficiencies throughout the life of a project, and can provide clients with a seamless experience.

“Traditionally, a client will hire an engineer to do a design, and then they’ll go out and subcontract to a construction company,” Cameron says. “There’s usually there’s a big disconnect between what’s being designed and what needs to be built, because the designers don’t have to worry about actually building it.”

“We bridge that gap and provide the full service,” he explains. “Nine times out of 10, that’s more efficient, more cost effective, and ensures a much more timely delivery.”

Industry recognised

Primero Group is a relatively young company, but they have already outgrown two offices, and have already developed some strong relationships with clients like Rio Tinto. In fact, Cameron estimates that they have done repeat work for at least 80 per cent of all their clients so far.

That well-earned success has not gone has not gone unnoticed. For example, the Group was recently awarded 3rd place in 2013’s StartupSmart Awards, in Australia’s Top 50 Fastest Growing Business category. Those awards seek to shine a light on new ventures that are destined to be the leading businesses of tomorrow, and are judged by some of Australia’s most notable entrepreneurs. Cameron says he and his team were thrilled with that recognition.

“That’s a great accolade,” he says. “It sits very highly on our list of achievements, because it’s recognition from other people in our industry.”

Primero Group was also one of the top 10 finalists in the Rising Star Awards for 2013, which marks them as one of Western Australia’s fastest-growing private companies. Cameron says that recognition was also a “great privilege.”

Cameron credits both awards to “a lot of hard work.” He also says that having a strong team of Directors was essential, because it helped them push through the difficult beginning stages of the company’s life.

“For quite some time, there was only six or seven of us in the business,” he recalls. “We were delivering high value projects, which meant some really hard work, and some long hours. But we have a group of experienced Directors, and we all adopt a hands-on approach. We’ve also had a lot of good mentors, and have placed a fair bit of emphasis on their advice.”

“Because of that, we were able to sustain our growth,” he adds. “Now we’re in the consolidation phase, and we’re making sure that we’re going to be around for a long time.”

Cameron also credits the company’s quick success to the rest of their team, which has steadily grown to roughly 40 people. He says that he and the other Directors met and worked with many of those people at previous companies, and recruited them to Primero because they were multi-skilled, talented, and shared the Group’s “can-do attitude.”

“We’ve put together a very good team, and they create and build relationships with our key customers,” he says.

Primero Group has also built many strong relationships with suppliers, which Cameron says has also been vital to their success. Again, he says that he and the other Directors ported many of those relationships over from their “previous lives.”

“We tend to stick with the suppliers that we trust, and that we know can deliver for us,” he says.

Finally, Cameron says the main reason Primero Group has been successful is because they have proven themselves. They have consistently delivered high quality projects, and they have been able to do that – at least partly – because they have put the right systems in place. For example, they have already gained the AS 4801 Safety Accreditation, and are well on their way to obtaining their ISO 9001 Quality Accreditation.

Most importantly, however, Cameron says Primero’s consistent quality is a result of their turnkey design and construction service.

“We’re there at the beginning and the end of the project,” he says. “We don’t walk away. We are the people who commission and ‘turn the key’ for the client. We have to make sure the quality’s ultimately there – because at the end of the day, if a project doesn’t work, we’re responsible.”

“Over the last five years, there’s been a lot of work of engineering and construction work done,” Cameron continues. “But a lot of companies have delivered some poor service, and a lot of clients have horror stories. But at Primero Group, we’re about efficiency, integrity, and accountability. We stand by every project we complete.”

“We’re a company that’s about providing solutions,” he concludes. “We’re about understanding what the client wants, and solving their problems in the most efficient and most effective manner. It’s time for clients to get back to good service, and that’s what we can provide.”