Brenton Euler & Jim Campbell

Written on the 23 November 2009

Brenton Euler & Jim Campbell
PIPEandCIVIL
CONSTRUCTION

Age: 38 and 37
Business Est: 2006
Number of staff: 120+
Growth: 200 per cent
Turnover: $43 million

SINCE PipeandCivil was formed three years ago it has taken off like a firestorm, but co-founders Brenton Euler and Jim Campbell barely have time to reminisce.

The pair spent two years developing their business plan to get involved with the $9 billion South East Queensland Water Grid project, putting their mortgages on the line for the big contract that has sparked a string of others since.

Euler says the growth has been nothing short of extraordinary, with revenue increasing from $260,000 in 06/07 to $18.7 million in 07/08, from which it doubled again last financial year.

“Once the growth came it was like you’re being handed a glass of champagne and asked to celebrate, while having an animal attached to your leg,” he says.

Euler says his goal is for PipeandCivil to be a sustainable company that is profitable, runs itself and takes opportunities.

“Being an entrepreneur, a large part of that is firstly seeking out and identifying opportunities early, and you have to also be very decisive and able to back yourself.

“There’s the old analogy for entrepreneurs that rings very true, that opportunity comes towards you like the point of a pin and goes away from you like the back of a bus.”

Campbell says PipeandCivil has stayed ahead of schedule on its projects, which also include the Sugarloaf Pipeline in Victoria - Australia’s largest water project – and the Bruce Highway upgrade.

“We try to keep ahead of schedule — it’s part of the DNA of PipeandCivil, as it creates more profit, keeps clients happy and on the marketing side it helps the reputation of the organisation.

“Now our profitability is at the $6 million mark, but you establish your reputation with what you do now rather than the future. We probably sacrificed a bit of profit to do things really well – we’ve over-sourced but we know that and that’s fine.”

Campbell forecasts a rise in annual profitability to more than 20 million in the next two to three years, with plans to publicly list at that stage.

“It’s definitely what we’re working towards as a business as we strengthen in the future and we’ll need more capital.”

When it comes to staff Campbell is all about incentives, paying high salaries, sourcing the best talent, but also looking past the idea of just working with ‘your mates’.

“It’s not about who you like and part of being an entrepreneur is finding the people who do the best for the company. You don’t want yes men, you want people who are able to self-manage, enjoy what they are doing and are professionals in their own right.”


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