Building on solid foundations
When Jim McPhillips founded McPhillips (Wellington) Limited in 1963 he set the company on its path to occupying a unique position within the construction industry. Meet the six people charged today with maintaining McPhillips’ family values and driving the business forwards.
Paul Inions – Managing Director
Paul Inions began his career at McPhillips in 1990. Following an 18-month stint away from the company, Paul returned to McPhillips in 1998. “After leaving McPhillips I kept in touch with Nicholas McPhillips who I turned to for career advice. We met up and after discussing my options; he suggested I returned to McPhillips. I agreed and Nicholas kept his promise to help me build my career.”
Paul’s roles within McPhillips have ranged from trainee quantity surveyor through to commercial director. What does Paul think sets McPhillips apart? “The company gets under your skin, it’s easy to feel a valuable part of it, which is why people tend to stay here for a long time. It also helps that we work across several construction disciplines, we don’t see this kind of diversity with any of our competitors.” Paul’s main goal is to build the business ready for when the next person takes the helm… “We are here as custodians for a period of time. I want to make sure that the success of McPhillips goes way beyond our current stewardship.”
Andrew Dunham – Contracts Director
Andrew Dunham accepted an invitation to join McPhillips in 1996. “I had worked as a freelance site manager on a McPhillips project, when the job completed I was asked to join full time and look after a large infrastructure project.” Andrew later assumed the role of contracts manager for the North West. Finding solutions to technical challenges drives Andrew as much today as when he first started, but it goes much further than that…
“McPhillips still maintains the original feel of a family-owned business, we as a board have worked hard to ensure this culture is evident throughout. I’m proud that we still put much emphasis on our direct employment model, this is something we value wholeheartedly, it’s a model that you don’t see much of within construction today.”
So, what of the future for McPhillips? “Building new client relationships. A key advantage is our diversity of work streams, this is something I am keen to expand on, which will provide continuous opportunities for our employees.”
Stuart Mackenzie – Contracts Director
A recommendation from a mutual acquaintance introduced Stuart Mackenzie to McPhillips in 1996. “I was approached by the company, when we met I was impressed by the ‘family firm’ atmosphere, I felt this was an environment that I could grow within and gain lots of experience.” That experience covers a multitude of roles from site engineer to senior site manager through to department head and contracts manager.
So, what has kept Stuart at McPhillips for so long? “First and foremost, we’re a family, a team of professionals that genuinely cares about each other and our clients. I work with great people who like me thrive on the opportunity to make a real difference by shaping a better future. Stuart also believes that the strength of McPhillips lies in diverse capabilities… “Working across several sectors means that we offer a unique proposition to clients, our experience is wide-ranging, we’re not blinkered. This keeps things fresh and interesting for our employees too, so it’s win-win.”
Ian Roberts – Commercial Director
Ian Roberts joined the McPhillips team in 2004. “I joined McPhillips because of the excellent reputation the company has within the industry, the McPhillips ethos resonated with me.” Ian started life at McPhillips as a senior quantity surveyor, moving over to commercial manager before assuming his current role. “It’s an old adage but if you look after the company the company will look after you. The opportunities for career progression exist at McPhillips, you only have to look at the career paths of our board for proof.”
Securing enough work to maintain a direct workforce in the region of 300 people concentrates the mind, but for Ian success is down to a simple equation… “You’ve got to deliver on your promises pure and simple. We must ensure that our work is of the highest quality at every stage, carried out to the programme timescale and kept within budget. Our reputation has been built on a very healthy percentage of repeat business.”
Chris Walker – Building Director
Chris Walker also joined McPhillips in 2004. “I was looking for a new challenge in the design and build industry and felt that McPhillips were the right fit for me and my ambitions.” Chris started life at McPhillips as site manager before moving into project and then contracts management positions. “McPhillips is all about relationships, we go the extra mile for our clients. Sometimes projects change dramatically due to circumstances out of our control, you’ve got to be able to react and help the client achieve the best possible result.”
For Chris the key to McPhillips continued success is attributable to one important element… “We never compromise our integrity. Whatever we are building from structures to careers we don’t take short cuts and hope for the best, anything we design is built to last. So, what are Chris’ hopes for the future? I want us to continue to prosper, to carry on promoting from within and increase the flow of new people to McPhillips via our apprenticeships and opportunities for college leavers.”
Val Hardy – Company Secretary
Val Hardy accepted an invitation to join McPhillips in 1995. “I was working for the auditors who looked after the monthly accounts for McPhillips, I joined initially to look after the monthly accounts and sales ledger.” Val has been involved in all aspects of finance at McPhillips and is responsible for overseeing the HR, Administration and Business Finance functions.
Val believes that staying true to family values is what underpins McPhillips’s low turnover of staff… “We work hard to look after our people, so much so that our direct employment model for on-site labour is in contrast to the majority of our competitors. One thing we don’t build at McPhillips is ivory towers, if you want to share thoughts or ideas with our directors the door is always open”