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Coffey Testing: Committing to local

Hiring local means Coffey Testing has a unique perspective on potential solutions for local projects.

Coffey Testing has a long history of supporting local communities and industries. Roads & Infrastructure Magazine learns how the company is giving back, and what it means to be an ‘Australian Owned’ certified company.

With a strong national presence, Coffey Testing is aiming to make an impact in a variety of regions, particularly when it comes to providing opportunities and support for local suppliers, workers, and projects.

Sam Hill – General Manager of Coffey Testing Rockhampton, says this commitment has been ever-present. He has seen first-hand the positive impact it can have since he joined the company in 2018.

“It’s been an intent of ours to remain Australian owned. We think it’s a key driver for many of our current contracts, having local content,” he says. “It really helps with our value proposition to our staff.

“When you’re creating and working on a project that’s local to you, there’s going to be more buy-in. We’ve turned this commitment to contributing to local communities from an unconscious thing to a conscious decision that we actively pursue.”

Coffey Testing’s commitment to the Australian economy has been identified and celebrated with its recent ‘Australian Owned’ certification.

Hill believes Coffey Testing’s ‘Australian Owned Social Responsibility Partnership’ also reflects the company’s entrenched roots and 60 years of building relationships with communities nationwide.

He says clients also benefit from these long-standing relationships.

“When you have a group of local suppliers that you’ve built up a rapport with and have relationships with, it extends how reactive you can be in what is a dynamic industry,” Hill says. “It might be a pipe bursting or a truck breaking down, if that happens you’ve got that network to provide a solution.

“The fact that we’re so connected locally in all our different locations allow us to leverage these professional networks. It’s good to have that reactiveness for any situation.”

Coffey Testing’s approach to projects prioritises local suppliers and employees.
Coffey Testing’s approach to projects prioritises local suppliers and employees.

Australian Owned 

Coffey Testing’s Australian Owned certification is bestowed by the official Australian Owned organisation.

Australian Owned is committed to driving and growing Australia’s business community, highlighting ways that industries can look to prioritise local investment.

Kristy Ponting, Australian Owned General Manager, says this commitment is about more than just providing opportunities. She says it’s about supporting the long-term prosperity of the nation.

“When you’re looking at local suppliers and employing members of the community, that’s obviously going to have a flow-on effect to the Australian economy. This is where Australia can benefit as a whole,” she says. 

“It’s bolstering what we already have here in Australia- it’s reinforcing and enabling us to take that next step towards self-sufficiency. Coffey Testing has a strong influence in respect to employing locally, which is demonstrated by its staff and locations across Australia.”

Ponting adds that being Australian Owned signifies a commitment to quality. She says products and services that are provided by an Australian Owned certified company can offer reassurance to consumers. 

“When it’s an Australian brand it really gives you confidence that the products are being met with appropriate quality standards. You’re going to receive a quality product that’s supported by local employees,” she says.

“The overarching economic benefit and everything that falls under it is why the commitment to supporting Australian business and staff is absolutely imperative.”

Australian Owned supports and encourages businesses to keep things local, offering tools and mechanisms (such as the Australian Owned certification) while increasing awareness around the importance of self-sustaining local economies.


 

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Ponting says the Australian Owned certification can also provide benefits for businesses by differentiating products and services from other providers.

“It’s about transparency. There’s millions of businesses across Australia. Being able to promote their certification and demonstrate that genuine Australian ownership can help businesses in terms of their bottom line,” she says.

“The consumer values that transparency, understands that by supporting these businesses, their dollar is ultimately helping the Australian economy.”

Ponting says Coffey Testing is an ideal example of a dedicated and committed Australian Owned certified business.

“It’s wonderful that Coffey testing has achieved its certification and has been recognised for being so socially responsible in its operations and commitment. We’re proud of their operations and this partnership, we love celebrating that fact,” she says.

Trickling down benefits 

David McWilliam has seen first-hand the benefits of backing local. He’s the Divisional Manager of Fulton Hogan, one of Australia’s largest infrastructure providers and a long-term client of Coffey Testing.

McWilliam says Coffey Testing’s Australian owned and trusted service is one reason why the company is Fulton Hogan’s preferred service supplier in northern New South Wales for materials testing.

“At the end of the day, if we don’t support the local economy, the local economy isn’t going to support us,” he says.

“Local people understand the local market. If you’ve got staff nationally, there’s obviously a wider network of knowledge, but sometimes that local knowledge for specific works can be missing.  

“A lot of the staff we’ve worked with from Coffey Testing have just that. The staff have been around long enough to know what’s in the ground. We find that a lot of the problems we’re facing, they’ve already dealt with before. That’s made our lives much easier.”

Fulton Hogan has used Coffey Testing’s services on major infrastructure works, such as the M1 Pacific Motorway upgrade. McWilliam says this local knowledge, combined with Coffey Testing’s modern equipment and services, can take the pain out of any materials testing requirements.

“We’ve just finished two major stabilisation packages, one being a project for Transport for New South Wales. We did stabilisation works for about 1.7 kilometres of the Golden Highway. We had a member of the Coffey Testing team there full-time, along with their mobile lab to measure densities and compressive strength on a daily basis,” he says.

“We can see results in real time.”

McWilliam adds that Coffey Testing’s local “know-how” and staff takes the guesswork out of constantly evolving specifications and regulations in materials testing.

“A lot of the specifications and test methods that we need to work through are constantly changing. Coffey [Testing] are generally ahead enough that when those changes come in, they can update their systems to reflect that,” he says.

“The people that they employ are local, they’re all facing the same challenges that we’re working through. We’re all on a level playing field, which I think would not be as easy to achieve if we weren’t working with such a local company. 

“We’ve never really ran into issues because they’ve kept in front of these changes. It means that we can get what we need, when we need it, which is great.”

This commitment to local economies also aligns closely with Fulton Hogan’s own ethos of providing local opportunities and contributions to the community. The company has supported thousands of community groups, also raising $218,000 for local brain cancer research.

Coffey Testing’s team is committed to providing high-quality outcomes for projects of all sizes.
Coffey Testing’s team is committed to providing high-quality outcomes for projects of all sizes.

“At the end of the day, just like us, they’re putting money back into the local economy. In a way, some of the money that we’re spending with them is being fed directly back to the community,” McWilliam says.

“It’s great to know you’re making an impact.”

On top of its immense support for local industries and economies, Coffey Testing has become a key partner and support for local sporting clubs and community outreach programs. As Hill explains.

“Some of the positive feedback that we get from staff relates to our support of local sporting teams. Sometimes we’ll have children of our employees playing for sporting teams that are looking for a sponsor, that’s the sort of thing we support,” he says.

“If we’re successful in the business, we can afford to do more of that stuff. The more that our people do well in the business, the greater the capacity to support these local teams. Having that extra kitty in the bank can help facilitate this type of work.”

Ponting says such generosity is reflective of the “Australian spirit”, an enduring commitment to supporting other employees and business owners.

“It’s more than just getting certified and getting a trademark to the Australian Owned logo,” she says. “It’s about being part of being something bigger and really showing a commitment to those values of supporting the citizens of Australia.

“There’s something so beautiful about our community, that real active engagement and support of one another. That’s where Coffey Testing have done a fantastic job.” 

This article was originally published in the November edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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