Nick Abley is the State Manager of Badge
Can you tell us about your career and how it led to State Manager at Badge?
My experience within the building industry spans more than 18 years. After studying Civil Engineering at the University of Adelaide, I worked for several major building companies in a variety of positions. I joined Badge in 2009 as State Manager.
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work for large, established construction companies and also experience what it is like to be a client who has outsourced another company to complete internal projects. It has enabled me to see both sides of the coin and has provided me with the skills required to carry out my position at Badge.
Briefly, what does your role involve?
I am currently responsible for all of Badge’s South Australian operations. A large part of my daily role involves recruitment and managing the relationships between Badge employees and existing clients as well as strategic direction of the company. Developing the business by promoting Badge’s capabilities to new and potential clients is also an important responsibility.
Badge has a very positive reputation within the community and many of our new clients hire us based on this. However, nothing beats the opportunity to go onsite and see firsthand the work our employees are doing, and what is happening within the company and the industry.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
Interacting with our staff at Badge and our clients. As I am involved in hiring and managing our employees, the most rewarding aspect is undoubtedly seeing young teams deliver a top quality product and develop their own professional careers. At Badge, personal growth within the organisation is encouraged and I have seen many of our employees go from strength to strength and thrive within the company.
What have been the highlights of your career to date?
Every time I receive positive feedback from clients, the industry and the community. When people recognise significant South Australian developments such as the Fort Largs Police Academy, the Murray Bridge Marketplace and the Modbury GP Plus as being ‘Badge’ projects, it is not only satisfying but it also reinforces the great work Badge does within the community. I am extremely proud of the work we do.
What does the current year hold for Badge?
We are targeting strong but controlled growth in South Australia. Our State office is on track to pass $200 million in turnover, up from $100 million in 2009-2010. Badge currently holds around 8-9% market share in South Australia and we’d like to definitely increase on that share this year. We’ve also increased our capability to work on complex projects up to $100 million in value.
Which sectors are identified as growth areas in SA for Badge?
Health is one of the sectors in South Australia in which Badge is expanding. This sector accounts for around 10% of turnover and is likely to double in the near future. Design and construction within health requires specific expertise. Two years ago we completed the $25 million Tennyson Medical Centre, which houses the largest chemotherapy facility of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
The same team that worked on that award-winning project is now involved in key health and aged care projects across the State. However, health is not the only sector we’re targeting. We’re also optimistic of growth across our other key areas of retail, food processing, office, hospitality, education and defence. These are all sectors our reputation as specialist builders holds us in good stead.
How are you targeting this growth?
We put the first building blocks to our current expansion phase in place about five years ago. At that time, the senior management team identified where we wanted to take the business in the near future and then, even more importantly, how we were to get there in a sustainable fashion. That involved targeting growth sectors within the industry and investing in systems and personnel ahead of time. As a result, we are now in a prime position and have the capabilities to more than cater for what the market is demanding.
How will the looming skills shortage impact Badge?
As Badge continues to grow, it is inevitable that we will need to recruit many more skilled people in order to fulfil future demand. However, the skills shortage has received quite a bit of press of late, and we predict that it will be challenging to find people capable of filling valuable roles within the industry in 3-4 years time. Luckily for Badge we have invested in our staff ahead of time and place great importance on developing our employees so they can progress into more senior roles.
Badge currently offers a graduate program involving Built Environment students from the University of South Australia. Every year, we sponsor a second year student to do work experience at Badge, and gradually increase their involvement in the company over a continual three year period. This ultimately results in full time employment at Badge by the end of their fourth and final year.
How did the construction of your new headquarters at Keswick go?
We recently moved into new offices on Anzac Highway at Keswick after transforming an old factory warehouse into a modern office space with a focus on environmental sustainability. By retaining as much of the existing structure as possible, incorporating lots of natural light, a sophisticated ventilation system and high-tech, energy efficient systems throughout, the end result is a reflection of Badge’s capabilities. We wanted to create dynamic and comfortable place of work for our 90 staff in South Australia and I’m confident we’ve achieved that.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I spend most of my spare time with my family as I have an 11 year old daughter and a 13 year old son. For relaxation, I am a keen fisher – my top fishing destinations being Adelaide Metropolitan and Pt Lincoln.