Below is an excerpt from the Gisborne Herald Award Supplement - September 2018. For the full supplement publication, please click here.
RUSSELL and Gretchen Moylan started Civil Project Solutions (CPS) nearly five years ago when they saw an opportunity to develop a professional project management capability in Gisborne.
The company grew quickly and this year won the Supreme Business of the Year award at the Westpac Gisborne Business Excellence Awards.
“We were absolutely blown away by winning the award and also the amazingly positive response we have had from the community,” said Mr Moylan.
The secret to their success is the hard working team which is focussed on their clients’ needs and the outcome driven — ‘best for project’ — culture he said.
“We have built up our team from both people based in Gisborne and those wanting to return to the region.” They used word-of-mouth and personal recommendations to recruit them. “Our team is made up of project managers, engineers, geologists and surveyors. “They come from a variety of professional backgrounds and bring a wide range of knowledge, experience and skills, gained both in New Zealand and abroad.”
The skills include civil engineering, engineering and quantity surveying, engineering surveying, geology, mine and quarry planning and operations, residential, commercial and industrial building construction, and infrastructure construction (road, rail, bridges and other structures) in addition to the company’s core skill of project management.
The company has been involved in a broad range of projects across diverse industries including dairy, food processing, commercial, industrial and retail construction, cool storage, roading and infrastructure and sports facilities. CPS is predominantly a Gisborne business with about 70 percent of their work in Tairawhiti but they have also worked on projects in Kaikoura, Nelson, Hawke’s Bay, Kawerau, Auckland and Fiji.
One project they are most proud of is the LeaderBrand salad processing facility. Mr Moylan said it was an extremely challenging and complex project which was delivered on time and on budget using almost entirely local sub-contractors. “There’s a common misconception that Gisborne’s construction industry doesn’t have the skill set to take on these big jobs — I think we’ve proven this is not the case.”
At the moment CPS is working on a variety of projects in Gisborne such as new coolstores, subdivisions and upgrading existing facilities for RocketLab at Mahia. They are also managing a dairy factory build in Kawerau and a couple of smaller projects in Hawke’s Bay. Mr Moyan said the vision for the company was to continue to exceed both their own and their clients’ expectations. “We get an enormous amount of satisfaction from the work we do and enjoy working with such a great team at CPS.” Mrs Moylan said the CPS staff are a big reason for their success. “They are all really motivated and enjoy the diverse range of work. “We feel very fortunate to have such a great team.”
The government has just announced a huge capital injection into the Tairawhiti region and Mr Moylan said “this is an exciting opportunity for lots of local businesses like ours to be involved in some incredibly ambitious and exciting projects”. “I would like to see a greater focus on developing and supporting local skills and capabilities.”
There is no typical day at CPS and every day brings many and varied challenges and problems to solve. “This is part of the fun,” says Mr Moylan. With a background in civil engineering, Russell worked extensively overseas in Hong Kong, London, Dublin, Dubai and the Pacific Islands. “I worked primarily on infrastructure projects — roading, airports, light rail — as both a contractor and in a consultancy.” He met his wife Gretchen in London where she worked as an investor relations associate and they travelled together to Dublin and Dubai where they had their first child. The couple now have three children and say Gisborne is a fantastic place to raise a family. Gretchen grew up on a farm in Wairoa and Russell comes from Ashburton in the South Island.
The company meets every Friday for lunch at their offices in Gisborne’s industrial area. They discuss projects and health and safety as they enjoy a sit-down meal together. It’s a good chance for everyone to touch base with the rest of the team in a relaxed environment that isn’t a ‘meeting’ as such says Mrs Moylan. Project manager Stuart Buscke says he loves working at CPS and enjoys both the work and the culture where the staff feel valued. The Friday lunches are an extra bonus.