Q&A WITH JOHN BELLINGER, CEO OF GUARD DOG GROUP
Security is one of the largest employers in PNG’S services sector. Business Advantage spoke with John Bellinger, Chief Executive Officer of the country’s largest security company, Guard Dog, to find out more.
Your company is well-known not just for its guard dogs, but also for your security personnel and the airport shuttle service in Lae. How wide is the scope of your activities? The companies under our umbrella provide a comprehensive range of services, ranging from manned security, customised electronic solutions, armoured vehicles, UPS equipment, communications and security training. We actually have our own accredited National Security Training College, where training is provided by an experienced team of instructors and support staff. With manpower now exceeding 5000 men and women nationwide, the Guard Dog Group is a major employer, not just in the security industry but in PNG’S economy as a whole.
Security is certainly a major industry in PNG and you are the largest operator. What do you see as the company’s key strengths? The company was founded by Dennis Bux in Madang in the early 1980s. That means we have three decades of experience, combined with a truly nationwide presence and an outstanding mix of local know-how and international expertise. As our name suggests, guard dogs are a particular speciality: we have around 400 trained dogs in PNG and one of the largest training facilities in the southern hemisphere.
What has the company learned from participating in a world-class project like the PNG LNG project? Collaborating with one of the world’s biggest companies obliged us to review our internal processes. We made a big effort to improve our training and operational manuals, as well as implement a Quality Management System. This was a big challenge and I am pleased to say that we have succeeded in meeting the high standards expected of us. You formed two ground-breaking joint ventures with local landowner companies to provide security to the PNG LNG Project. How have those worked? While Guard Dog has provided the expertise, training and ongoing management, our landowner partners have provided the manpower. With the construction phase at its peak in 2013, each joint venture was employing in excess of 500 staff.
On the one hand, the opportunity to develop businesses with Hides Gas Development Company and Laba Holdings has been most rewarding and satisfying. On the other, the experience we have gained, together with our long history of providing services to oil, mining and gas projects, leaves us ideally placed to participate in future projects.
Looking ahead, what are your major plans? Where will the growth come from in the aftermath of the PNG LNG Project? We want to be recognised as the best service provider in the security industry, such recognition can only be good for growth. We actively review our Corporate Strategy to ensure KPI’S are achieved and communicate with our key clients to ensure service delivery is the best. The Group has established a sound platform from which it can continue to expand. With strong internal governance and direction we expect our growth to come from, without being too specific, ongoing existing market penetration and new market development of existing products and services, new product options and diversification into other areas. In addition, with more large projects in the resource sector being a distinct possibility we hope we will be considered as serious contenders to provide security services by the project owners.