A little over five years ago, Evan Harvey was working at an earthmoving company which had begun to dabble in road stabilisation.
At the time, he had never heard of the stabilisation field before, but for Mr. Harvey, it represented a new challenge to overcome.
After doing two small stabilisation jobs, Mr. Harvey then decided to follow his newfound passion and began working with the team at WA Stabilising. He brought with him skills from his background in earthmoving and transport, but still had a lot to learn from the team on the job.
“When I first started it was all new to me, I was starting from scratch. I dove into the deep end and had the challenges and responsibilities that comes along with that, but WA Stabilising was always there to support me if I was struggling,” he says.
That sense of challenge is what motivates Mr. Harvey on the job. He explains that stabilisation projects present a changing list of obstacles that need to be overcome for each site.
“We’re all over WA, so there is always a variety of challenges that we face on a new job. It may be there’s water ingress under the road and that’s making the subbase a problem – every site is different.”
One job he uses as an example of the unique nature of stabilisation was one of his first as a leading hand. WA Stabilising had been contracted to provide three kilometres of overlay on the York Merredin Road. Road trains shipped material up to the job site, bringing with them more than 10,000 cubic metres of material for the project.
Material was brought onto the site and needed to be placed in certain areas, traffic needed to be controlled and the comings and goings of the various trucks needed to be managed across the long work site.
On top of that, the terrain was hilly which lead to varying elevations on the road, meaning it needed to be brought up by 600 millimetres in some areas.
“It was a relatively simple job because it was wet mixing, meaning there was no binder, but it was a great learning experience to use what I knew about trucks from my background in transport and applying it to stabilisation,” he says.
With a passion for success through teamwork, the 31-year-old entered a leadership position as a crew leader and won the coveted AustStab Young Stabiliser of the Year Award this year.
The title is given to a professional aged 35 years and younger, who has shown significant achievements in the pavement stabilisation sector. Not only this, but the individual has demonstrated an understanding of the role of stabilisation and shows proficiency in the use of communication skills in such projects.
Mr. Harvey says he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help of the whole team at WA Stabilising.
“The entire company supports everyone, from upper management to the people out on the job. When I joined up, the team had been working together for three to four years and were all capable of doing the different tasks required on the job,” he explains.
“We work with a fairly small crew, but I was taught the skills to move from task to task. When I started to master it, it was my turn to start teaching it to the new people. We’re always learning and working together to get the job done.”
As a crew leader, he helps to run the team with their day-to-day stabilisation operations when they’re out on a job. When a bigger project comes in, Mr. Harvey also manages the labour hire that comes in.
He says that working closely with his team has helped him keep learning as each person brings unique experiences and skills.
“When I come across a challenge that I have never had before, we collaborate with other people to find a solution, which teaches us all a few new tricks of the trade along the way,” he says.
“Because everyone in the crew is highly skilled, sometimes the job can happen by itself. It’s brilliant to be in a position surrounded by such a great team,” he says.
Looking forward, Mr. Harvey says that he’d like to move into a more managerial role with the company, which WA Stabilising has been supporting.
“They put us through all sorts of training in the quiet winter season, whether it be for leadership or a working with bitumen course. We even go through a load restraint course, so we always have the skills to move our own gear.
“It’s a really supportive business that’s always looking to upskill its workers and go the little bit extra to give training and support.”