WITH the mining industry winding back, diversification has helped one machinery and engineering contractor to keep growing.
PJL Group held its last management meeting for the year yesterday after using Orange as a springboard to enter markets in Cobar in February and Perth in June. It has also been present in Mount Isa for the past two years.
General manager David L’Estrange said mining still accounted for much of the company’s business, but it was starting to expand into agricultural contracts and local government civil contracts.
“We’ve just had the biggest 12 months on record so we’re not seeing a downturn in our business because we’ve taken a proactive approach to the downturn,” he said.
“We’ve tried to set up maintenance partnerships and assist the client with savings and really get on board and say, ‘We know you’ve got to save money, what can we do to be part of that’?”
“[If we hadn’t done it], we would certainly still be operational, but we would be only at one facility - we now have five facilities across Australia, so we would be about the best part of 130 guys short of what we are now.”
After starting in 2006, Mr L’Estrange said Orange had provided the platform to grow.
“We found the tradesmen in Orange were some of the best in Australia and we’re a young and ambitious company and the guys that we employ are the same - we have a philosophy where we hire for attitude and train for skill, and right from the onset everyone’s been on board with the vision of running the business,” he said.
Further expansion is expected in Orange into the new year, with the company relocating its Astill Drive mechanical facility to its existing engineering facility in the Leewood Estate.
Mr L’Estrange said the co-location would open up future employment opportunities if needed.
The new building is expected to be operational by April and officially opened in May.