The family way
– Infrastructure is necessary for the growth of any community. According to Mcilwain managing director Keith Mcilwain it is vital for employing the unemployed, bringing communities into focus and fulfilling social and envirnmental obligations. Under famil
The McIlwain business has a long history. It began in 1928 at Urunga on the mid north coast of NSW, when seven-year-old Arthur, his family, three horses and a dray joined Arthur’s grandfather building roads at Yarrawich. Arthur served in the army during World War 2, but once the war was over, he resumed with the family business. He bought his first truck in 1946 and recommenced road work with his father in the Gold Coast Hinterland and Numinbah Valley. By 1961, he had several trucks and purchased his first bulldozer to augment the contract cartage business. The company grew during the 1960s and 1970s and comprised a plant hire fleet of four bulldozers and drotts, trucks, rollers and a grader.
Arthur’s son Neal joined in 1974 and worked his way up through the company to the position of construction manager, meanwhile Keith, who had forged his own career as an engineer decided to get his hands dirty and in 1984 joined the business as general manager. From there the company refocused from plant hire to civil contracting.
Keith has been guiding the direction of the business ever since, with one major milestone occurring in 1991 when Arhtur retired and McIlwain Civil Engineering Pty Ltd was formed.
McIlwain is now in the hands of a fourth generation of family member with Neal’s son Tim taking on a directorship in 2009 after serving for 10 years as a project manager and engineer.
Family is important to the McIlwains and Keith believes it is one of the major strengths of the company and a large part of McIlwain Civil’s success. He says that all members of staff are treated as if they were members of the family.
“I think what drives me personally is seeing and hopefully assisting people to fulfil their potential,” Keith says.
“I was very fortunate to have been mentored by some very clever and very committed engineers at a very young age and that experience is always at the forefront of my approach to how we skill and develop people.”
Keith has over 35 years experience in the Civil Engineering and Construction Industry in Design, Supervision and Construction of civil engineering projects ranging from residential, commercial and industrial developments to major road infrastructure projects.
His knowledge base is vast and he can lead by example. Though, in his own humble way, he questions his leadership abilities.
“As a leader I have some shortcomings that I find frustrating at times. I think one has to at all times be prepared to acknowledge that you are not always