Fam­ily busi­ness comes of age

From a small com­pany to one of the largest in the Aus­tralian build­ing in­dus­try, Hutchin­son Builders looks for­ward to the fu­ture.

The Weekend Post - Real Estate - - HOUSES -

Four gen­er­a­tions of the fam­ily at the helm have taken Hutchin­son Builders from a one- man op­er­a­tion in 1912 through al­most a cen­tury of suc­cess­ful ser­vice to the build­ing in­dus­try.

Widely recog­nised as Queens­land’s old­est and largest build­ing com­pany, Hutchin­son Builders cel­e­brates its 95th an­niver­sary this year.

Head­quar­tered in Bris­bane, Hutchin­son Builders now has a branch of­fice net­work through­out Queens­land and New South Wales which is a legacy from Jack Hutchin­son Sr, who guided the di­rec­tion of Hutchin­son Builders for many years as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chair­man.

In 1992, Jack shifted his fo­cus to his role as chair­man of the board, mak­ing way for his son, Scott, a Bach­e­lor of En­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ate, to take over as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor.

Scott has been re­spon­si­ble for ex­pand­ing the busi­ness sig­nif­i­cantly since tak­ing the reins.

“ Hutchies would not have had longevity if a fam­ily mem­ber in each gen­er­a­tion had not had the mo­ti­va­tion and abil­ity to take over man­age­ment of the com­pany,” Jack says.

This hap­pened for three gen­er­a­tions, which was a rar­ity in con­struc­tion con­tract­ing, he adds.

“ We are so large now, and grow­ing, that gen­er­a­tional lead­er­ship may not be so nec­es­sary in the fu­ture as we now have so many good young man­agers com­ing up through the ranks.”

Jack re­tired from ac­tive day- to- day du­ties as chair­man in Oc­to­ber 2001, al­though he still re­tains a prom­i­nent in­ter­est in the busi­ness.

Fol­low­ing Jack’s re­tire­ment, Scott was ap­pointed chair­man of the board and Greg Quinn was ap­pointed man­ag­ing di­rec­tor – the first non- fam­ily mem­ber to hold the po­si­tion.

Greg joined Hutchin­son Builders af­ter 17 years with the Queens­land and NSW Mas­ter Builders As­so­ci­a­tion. He was ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of both or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“ Who has ever heard of a build­ing busi­ness not only sur­viv­ing for 95 years but pros­per­ing and be­ing in its best ever shape at the end of the stretch?” Greg says.

“ Hutchies is stronger in al­most ev­ery re­spect than it has been through­out its his­tory.” In 2001, Hutchin­son Builders moved to the Far North and opened an of­fice in Cairns.

The team at first con­sisted of just two em­ploy­ees, one of them was Paul De Jong.

The Cairns team has com­pleted projects on Lizard, Bedarra, Dunk, Heron and Horn is­lands.

Some re­cently com­pleted lo­cal projects in­clude the James Cook Univer­sity ATFI build­ing, Skyrail ter­mi­nal up­grade and ad­di­tions, Cairns In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel’s Day Spa and Blue­wa­ter Canal sub­di­vi­sion civil works and sales cen­tre.

The Cairns team has also re­cently started works on the Ma: Mu Rain­for­est Canopy Walk­way, set to be­come a unique Aus­tralian eco­tourism at­trac­tion.

Since 2001, the Cairns team has ex­pe­ri­enced huge ex­pan­sion and is now made up of 35 di­rect em­ploy­ees with Paul De Jong ap­pointed as the team leader.

Over the years, projects un­der­taken by the com­pany have in­cluded the con­struc­tion of ware­houses, of­fices, re­tail out­lets, private schools, churches, hos­pi­tals, in­dus­trial build­ings, tourist at­trac­tions and, more re­cently, hous­ing.

This year saw the com­ple­tion of the James Cook Univer­sity Aus­tralian Trop­i­cal For­est In­sti­tute ( ATFI). Hutchin­son Builders also con­structed the E1 science build­ing in 2002.

The new build­ing was con­structed work­ing closely with James Cook Univer­sity’s project man­ager, John Parker, and all as­so­ci­ated con­sul­tants and con­trac­tors.

The ATFI is a new cen­tre of ex­cel­lence in sus­tain­able trop­i­cal land­scapes re­search and will fa­cil­i­tate col­lab­o­ra­tion, co- lo­ca­tion and re­gional part­ner­ships for the sus­tain­able use, man­age­ment and con­ser­va­tion of trop­i­cal for­est land­scapes.

While the com­pany’s fo­cus is in Queens­land, Hutchin­son Builders is also very ac­tive in New South Wales and has un­der­taken in­ter­na­tional projects in New Zealand and Canada and has just started some ma­jor projects in Ja­pan.

Hutchin­son Builders is cur­rently push­ing through the bil­lion dol­lar turnover thresh­old and em­ploys more than 700 staff, with projects as di­verse in pur­pose as they are in lo­ca­tion.

Scott Hutchin­son says the thing he is most proud of dur­ing the com­pany’s growth is that “ we are still builders and still try­ing to em­ploy peo­ple for life”.

“ We are not just man­agers who put a team to­gether for each job, we are a com­mu­nity and that will never change.”

Both now in their 40s, Scott Hutchin­son and Greg Quinn are work­ing closely to­gether to take “ Hutchies” into its sec­ond cen­tury.

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