Managing projects with trade expertise

G&G Engineering

From humble beginnings, G&G Engineering has grown into a fully integrated business offering the full gamut of engineering services. Manufacturers’ Monthly speaks with Syd Tusen from G&G Engineering about how a steadfast commitment to quality has driven the company’s expansion.

In 1973, two cousins from Melton decided to start an engineering workshop out of their backyard garage. David Gillespie and Graeme Gilliland – a skilled boilermaker and fitter – wanted to build something of their own.

Syd Tusen, general manager, said the business began with general engineering and fabrication work for the local community in Melton.

“Graeme and David grew operations through word of mouth,” Syd said. “The quality of their design, engineering and finished product has always been high, with an attitude of just saying ‘Yes’ and working around clients’ specific requests.”

This momentum in the local community led to G&G becoming one of the biggest manufacturers of Carnival and Amusement rides in Australia between 1976 and 1985.

The pair then secured the maintenance contract on the (then) Taubmans Paint site in Sunshine in 1986 (now Akzo Nobel Pty Limited).

The contract involved the installation, service, repairs, and manufacturing of various machinery/components to service the company’s paint, resin, and powder manufacturing needs.

After almost 40 years, G&G remains the preferred engineering supplier for Akzo Nobel.

Syd marvels at the dedication and hard work of the company’s founders in growing a business without the luxury of starting infrastructure. Both are still involved in the business today.

“They were working in a garage, but it was more like a tin shed,” he said. “After several years, they bought a vacant block four doors down from the workshop. They would work hard during the day producing the revenue they needed and then developed the building at night. We’re in the same building today – it just shows the dedication and skill they have.”

Today G&G offers a diverse range of services, including road and bridge works, (a VicRoads/D.O.T. prequalified provider) building/construction, structural steel, mining, agribusiness, general engineering, project management, and equipment installation.

Syd said the business can essentially be broken down into roads and bridges, specialised maintenance in the manufacturing environment, and specialised custom-made projects.

Our client base covers work with Transurban, VicRoads, various water instrumentalities, Akzo Nobel and many more well-known companies.

The business places an emphasis on having experienced and knowledgeable team members in all areas – be it design, fabrication, installation, or maintenance.

“Our experience with project management means having the best people with trade-based knowledge – highly skilled boilermakers, welders, fitters and turners, drafters and other support staff.” Syd noted.

“That mentality has come from Dave and Graeme being trades people. We approach projects with a simple philosophy – the client tells us what they want, we come up with the design, manufacture, install, and service it. They have also been very innovative in terms of finding a solution that works. This was true back then, and is still the same today.”

Quality for the customer from start to finish

“Open lines of communication are integral to maintaining client relationships” Syd said. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, G&G relied on its relationships to overcome project delays and all the issues that arose from that.

“We have been very good at retaining all of our clients, and although there has been a stalling effect on work, we have always had enough work to keep the doors open,” he said.

“The concept of customer service is a given at G&G. We don’t talk about it because we deliver it”.

Syd references G&G’s work on the Eureka Tower – SkyDeck – having just recently renewed a part of the glass floor – to demonstrate how the company continues to service projects long after the initial completion.

One of G&G’s specialised projects is the equipment Melbourne Zoo uses to feed its tigers.

“Zoo staff tie a piece of meat to a cable strung between two towers and then run it out so the tiger has to jump up to the grab the meat, actually catching it’s dinner.” Syd said.

“We were involved from the start in the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and training the zoo staff in its use. All of this was on the back of the work we’ve done for them over the years.”

Navigating through challenges and forging ahead

Because of the volatility of the industry over the pandemic, G&G’s management team embarked on acquiring a business to add to its portfolio of services. Syd said the acquisition of a national company, Bollards Direct has provided G&G with another revenue stream.

“We have and are growing the national distributorship. The bollards are wholly manufactured here in Melton and we channel them through the distributors in every state. That said, G&G Engineering is predominantly Victoria-based,” he added.

“We expanded the range of bollards so we can not only provide a product that is in great demand, but adds another service which fits Road and Bridges, Special Projects and our Maintenance Business.”

The Future

2022 will be a year of further expansion, according to Syd.

“Leveraging off its track record as a quality engineering business, G&G is providing a broader range of services and products that are useful not only to our existing clients, but to future clients as well.”

G&G Engineering is very strong on directional management and is currently looking to acquire another business, to expand further into other areas aligned with our current business model and strategic plan. This will strengthen our base, allowing us to provide more diverse and interesting work to our very skilled workforce. After all, they are team that delivers the work, to continue what David and Graeme had started.

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