Good neighbours, great work
Statewide Civil Pty Ltd (“Statewide”) has a name that doesn’t leave many questions about who they are, what they do, or where they do it. What the name doesn’t tell you is the level of involvement they have with the communities they operate in. The work they do and the community building and charity events they are involved in– it all seems almost equally important and fulfilling to Michael Dominello, the Managing Director of Statewide.
The company was founded in January of 2005, says Michael. “We started small, constructing footpaths and minor driveways for councils. We picked up a few other councils, and then began picking up kerb and gutter business along the way. We then started doing minor drainage works, and were able to evolve that into major drainage works. Before we knew it, we began constructing subdivisions by 2006,” he says, tracing the almost jet propelled trajectory that Statewide has taken.
“After the first 12 months we picked up our first subdivision, which had a value of $1.5 million. Here we did about a kilometre of kerb and gutter. We also did the water, electrical, road works upgrade preparation – in all I would say it was a pretty successful job.” From this first project Statewide were able to pick up more road work contracts from councils, which included full road rebuilds. By 2007 they had expanded into doing streetscape works outside of shopping malls, football fields & park remediation. They were able to take on the big jobs in preparing these fields, irrigating, turfing and capping landfill. “We even constructed the areas surrounding the parks and installed park furniture, and in the last two years we have developed the company into almost two avenues. One, where we are able to construct parks, fields, and remediation works; the other where we can take on big civil projects like drainage, bridge work and road upgrades,” says Michael. Currently they are in the process of gaining their ISO rating as well as expanding their team to meet the demands of the market. “We started out with two staff members, and now we have 26 on staff. It has been a very fast six years, but we are a young company with a young staff – we are a young, fit and lean company that is ready to learn and grow.”
Statewide have found most of their work within the Sydney area, but have gone as far south as Bundanoon, and as far east as La Perouse, then the Manly and Warringah area. “We work mainly in the Sydney area, but we do it from end to end over a 90 kilometre area,” says Michael. They have structured their business so that they have individuals in most of the areas that they serve, and have placed their operations in the centre of the map in order to manage their projects with more ease. “It is a big area, but we have the Statewide name because we don’t want to restrict ourselves to a small area.”
Part of this ability to take on jobs, no matter where, involves having a strong pool of subcontractors and trades on their books. “In the early stages it was kind of hit and miss on developing these relationships – it was a learning curve. Keeping good subcontractors is as simple as making sure that we adhere to the payment terms that we have agreed to, so after those formative years we have a good group of people we work with,” says Michael. Using subcontractors on as many projects as possible has helped build up their relationship with Statewide Contractors. Social events have also helped pave the way to including them in the growing Statewide family.
Interestingly, Statewide was actually formed around what is considered the beginning of the GFC. Michael says that Australia did not really feel the effects of this until 2007, but even then you could say that Statewide was still in its formative stages. “There was a period that we were quoting at almost cost, just to make sure we made it through, but at the same time we were able to build up a good reputation because we were answering the customer’s needs.” He thinks that this has played a role in their continued success in the market, as well as the stability of work they have begun to enjoy.
“If something arises that needs to be addressed, we can usually turn around and deliver that in a minimal timeframe,” Michael says. Reaction time is an important quality that they have in spades. “If you have the right product, we believe that you will always have work, no matter what the economy is doing.” He also thinks that maintaining the quality that they have become known for is of paramount importance. “There is an old saying that goes ‘you are only as good as your last job’. To be able to sustain that always kept this motto in mind. With so much competition in this market we know we have to keep these high standards of quality and service.” This process has been a learning experience, and one that has kept the company constantly growing in its knowledge and ability base. By negotiating the processes and systems that councils and developers have, Statewide can navigate each step along the way more easily.
Why come to Statewide Civil? “I am here, the boss is here,” says Michael. “If the customer has an issue on site, then I am here to see to their issues. I have that personal service and that personal touch with the customer. Part of that quality and the reputation that we have is dependent on this. Somewhere else you may never hear from the boss or the director – here you will.” Michael says that the major difference between Statewide and other companies is that many companies put people between the customer and the top man – Statewide will simply never do that.
Since they are a new company, they do not operate with many of the legacy policies and infrastructure that hamper other companies. From green-technology to communication methods, Statewide is state of the art. “We are going forward with green practices, and I think the future is in that. But it has not been so much of a concern for us, because everything we are doing is new, and because of this, it’s as energy efficient and sustainable as possible. As the green movement grows we are ready to grow with it,” says Michael. In fact, one of the things that has made them notable is that in presentations and client meetings they have pretty much done away with paper by implementing iPads and wireless devices. “We walk into meetings with clients with our iPads tucked under our arm, and I think this gives people the right impression: that we are young and ready to do things differently.” Projecting an image at this stage of the game is important for a young company like Statewide; establishing a name and a reputation is part of a branding process that many companies overlook. “We are a little bit more proactive, and a little more efficient,” he says, and that is exactly the image they are projecting.
Some of the things they do might look like an exercise in this branding initiative, but that is before you hear how personally Michael and staff take their charitable works. Personal experience has been what has driven them to be a contributing body, not the press that it can engender. One of the projects that Michael is very happy about is the Camp Quality initiative. “It’s my little passion at the moment,” he says. After experiencing some personal financial crises, as soon as Michael could he began looking at ways at giving back to the community. “We saw that we could give back to people in need,” he says. “We try to help out and donate and give back where ever we can.” Founded in 1983, Camp Quality aims to support children who are living with cancer. There are programs in every state and territory throughout Australia, and there are over 240 camps and fun days every year. “One of our concrete suppliers told us about the Camp Quality esCarpade program. He has been doing it for more than 10 years. As soon as he mentioned this to me I knew I wanted to be involved,” says Michael. “I am passionate about my cars so this seemed like a good fit. We went out and bought a car and got it bash prepared, and participated in our first bash in October 2010.” Michael says that they were able to raise $19 000 for Camp Quality, with Statewide running the car at their own cost. Alongside other initiatives, they look to increase this donation by raising a further $40 000 to this fund. “I believe if you give you will receive,” he says. “I think that a big part of why we are successful is that we do give back to the communities that we operate in, and looking at the future I really hope we can give a whole lot more.”
This is only part of what has made Statewide Civil a trusted name, but it ties in to the overall philosophy they have of being a good neighbour and a corporate body that can be trusted. Building relationships has been an important part of what they have been doing for the last few years, and it has shown returns in the form of stable work and a rising reputation among their peers.