Glad­stone’s mil­lion-dol­lar man

Central Telegraph - - CQ INDUSTRY -

A GLAD­STONE man has made more than $30 mil­lion from Aus­tralia’s gas boom.

Ken Cor­field, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Cor­field’s Elec­tri­cal, has spent the past four years scout­ing for multi-mil­lion dol­lar ten­ders to keep his busi­ness afloat.

And it’s worked - se­cur­ing two lu­cra­tive deals to build huge work­ers’ camps for liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas work­forces.

Now he’s shar­ing his ex­pe­ri­ences with others in a bid to help strug­gling small busi­nesses in Glad­stone.

Mr Cor­field, a Glad­stone lo­cal, has trav­elled far with some of his work­ers in a bid to find work.

At his peak he em­ployed 80 peo­ple, but that has dropped to 40.

As Glad­stone pre­pared for its gas boom with the con­struc­tion of three $70 bil­lion LNG sites, Mr Cor­field was get­ting ready to de­sign and build a 1600-man work­ers’ camp.

And love them or hate them, in­ter­na­tional gas gi­ants mov­ing in to Glad­stone poured mil­lions into the re­gion, and Mr Cor­field’s busi­ness.

Mr Cor­field won a ten­der to de­sign and build GLNG’s work­ers’ camp, worth $12 mil­lion.

But as he ex­pected, the multi-mil­lion dol­lar su­gar hit was short-lived, and Glad­stone’s down­turn was fast ap­proach­ing.

“When it started to slow down in Glad­stone, we were grow­ing in Western Aus­tralia, we re­ally found that per­fect bal­ance,” he said.

“If I didn’t make that de­ci­sion to go over there, I would’ve had a very dif­fi­cult time.”

The GLNG ex­pe­ri­ence gave the a busi­ness a leg-up for a $22 mil­lion con­tract at Wheat­stone LNG in Onslow, WA, to build a 7000-man camp. Now Mr Cor­field ex­pects his com­pany’s next big job will be main­te­nance.

“There’s only so long be­fore those three gas plants start to need that main­te­nance ... those nuts and bolts are go­ing to need re­plac­ing or up­keep soon.”

“The main­te­nance in the gas in­dus­try is go­ing to be big­ger than con­struc­tion it­self.

“Main­te­nance goes on for 30 years ... that’s what we’re chas­ing hard for now.”

Mr Cor­field is shar­ing his knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence with Glad­stone En­gi­neer­ing Al­liance’s 170 mem­bers, as the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s new pres­i­dent.

“I’ve taken this on be­cause of my pas­sion for busi­ness,” he said. “The doom and gloom days are for those who lock them­selves away... Work is there but it’s hard work and you need to up­skill to get it.”

He’s also one of seven peo­ple on the com­mit­tee for the $30 mil­lion Bowen Basin Jobs Pack­age. And he says he’ll be a cham­pion for Glad­stone.

“There’s lots of peo­ple with great ideas, but they just need money,” Mr Cor­field said.

“I don’t want this to be just another fund­ing pro­gram ... It’s my am­bi­tion to turn this into a pow­er­house, to make it known that we can get re­sults.”

EXPERIENCEl Owner of Cor­field’s Elec­tri­cal, Ken Cor­field with LNP mem­ber for Flynn Ken O'Dowd. PHOTO: CAMP­BELL GEL­LIE

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