There's something special about Auckland-based civil construction company Dempsey Wood.
It's highly successful, a key player in the Auckland civil infrastructure scene, and it's on the lookout for top international construction talent.
There's something else though. The people at Dempsey Wood like to do things differently - things that matter.
People Operations Manager Maurice Deevy sums it up. “I joined Dempsey Wood because of how involved the owner, Conal Dempsey, is in the everyday goings-on of the business. He's always down the end of the hall with his door open. I guess as an HR manager I might have been employed because Conal didn't like the fact that as the company grew so large, he could no longer keep track of everyone's partner's names and the personal connections he enjoyed so much. We're the very last company that would want someone to be just a number."
From the top down, it is a company that cares. Dempsey Wood cares about the 400 people it employs, the communities it operates in, as well as creating a sustainable future – for the company, the staff and Auckland.
And all this caring seems to be working. As Maurice has experienced himself, the company has grown significantly in the last 5-10 years. "I joined the company two and a half years ago when we had 250 staff- we've almost doubled in size."
For the most part, Dempsey Wood's growth has been fuelled by Auckland's growing housing market. Of the 25 projects it has on the go on any given day, 20 of those are private subdivision jobs where Dempsey Wood staff undertake earthmoving, road building, small bridge construction, retaining walls, drain laying and services installation.
Showing the company is not afraid to do things differently, it operates a self-performing main contractor model, one of the only Auckland-based firms operating at this capacity in doing this. “We're a main contractor and a self-performing main contractor," says Maurice. "We don't use subcontractors very often – we do it all ourselves. This means project managers are not managing a whole lot of other companies; they're managing our own staff and resources. They get to know their staff personally, the hobbies, the family stories, this sort of thing is important to us.
And doing things differently gets noticed. This year, Dempsey Wood was named the top preferred supplier on Auckland Transport's ‘Panel One' preferred supplier list along with only a small handful of other companies whom are nationwide.
This is a huge win for the team and means they'll be involved with some of the largest public infrastructure projects available in Auckland. It also offers a strategic shift in focus from the private infrastructure work which currently dominates their order list.
“Wins like these also mean good news for people in construction looking to come to New Zealand", says Maurice, “offering stability, opportunity to diversify and career progression opportunities".
He mentions Dempsey Wood's ability to prove its commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency, reduced environmental impact, and community involvement helped secure the work with Auckland Transport, which has a big focus on sustainable outcomes for Auckland.
As part of its community involvement, Dempsey Wood works alongside a number of Auckland Council departments, including The Southern Initiative. This initiative focuses on raising the socio-economic conditions of the local South Auckland community. "We're also working with Te Puia Memorial Marae in Mangere which takes in homeless people."
It's about finding the balance of giving back and working to grow a strong, successful company.
All of this growth means they are always searching for top international construction talent to join them. Civil project managers, site foremen, estimators, and after a recent high-profile brownfield project win, potentially worth $100m+ each year over the next five years, Dempsey Wood is also on the lookout for people with plenty of urban civil development experience.
There's no shortage of opportunities available and there's also no shortage of reasons to join them – that culture of doing the things that matter is integral to its success.
Maurice also says, "If you've got an idea at Dempsey Wood you don't need five signatures to make it happen, things can turn around really quickly. It makes us very dynamic and adaptable to the changes our clients need. We can make things happen in a flash."
"There's always BBQs on site, we get the work done together and we celebrate our wins a lot! It's definitely family-focussed; we're a very caring company for the family unit and whanau. There are many families working within the greater family."
Maurice adds that the company has an industry-leading health and safety programme and newly launched employee assistance programme services.
There are more than 15 nationalities represented on their staff: "We're a really multi-cultural company as well – we've got Irish, South Africans, Fijians, Samoans, British, Tongans, Russians, Aussies, and Filipinos."
And with all of their projects based in Auckland, within an hour of the city centre, there's a great work/life balance and more opportunity to experience what Auckland has to offer.
Maurice himself came with his wife to Auckland from Ireland six years ago. "Myself and my wife came over to Auckland and we now have two Kiwi sons. We just came for a year to check it out and then we realised that you get weeks on end of sunshine - this place is really postcard material!"
"New Zealand is the land of opportunity at the moment, it's a place to STAY and it's the perfect environment for raising a family. The lifestyle opportunities, the outdoor pursuits – it's six years later and I'm still discovering Auckland."
Maurice encourages anyone considering making the move to do their research and look into the great world of opportunity offered here in Auckland and the surrounding regions. He would welcome the chance to talk about his adopted city to people keen to pursue an Auckland construction career and of course, about the Dempsey Wood difference!
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