Not everyone is lucky enough to pursue the career they dreamt of when they were younger, but for Jim, engineering was in his blood.
“I always knew I was going to be an engineer, for me the only decision was what kind. My brother was an engineer and hearing his stories about Mt Lyell mine motivated my decision to pursue a career in mining engineering,” said Jim.
When Jim left university, he worked underground in Tasmania as an airleg miner and a jumbo operator.
“I then started my own drilling and blasting business for six years with a mate from university, before it was bought by Ausdrill in 1992,” he said.
Prior to MACA, Jim worked at Downer starting as Underground Operations Manager and moved into estimating, crushing, and open-cut operations when Downer wound back the underground business in the West.
Like many others, Jim became part of the team in early 2021 when MACA acquired the Mining West business.
“To me, the biggest success of the acquisition is our continued ability to be able to win small and large projects, which is a challenge when bringing two different businesses together.
“No one has been able to achieve it before, but we have continued to be mindful of our clients, what they require, and the understanding that there is no one solution that fits all.
“This is why we’ve continued to win new work and deliver great projects,” said Jim.
Jim’s 40 year career in the industry has seen him accomplish many things. From running his own business at the age of 27 to winning major projects, and developing an international underground mining project.
“Moving to Indonesia to start an underground mining project from scratch stands out as one of my biggest career highlights.
“The challenges of operating in a foreign country made the job all the more complicated. Dealing with different cultures, regulations, and business processes was challenging, but seeing it all come to fruition was extremely rewarding.
“I remember writing an import duty cheque for over one billion rupiah, which was mind-blowing at the time and still the biggest cheque I’ve ever written,” he said.
As part of the MACA team, Jim’s role involves managing the start up of new projects, and when it comes to estimating projects, Jim’s advice for those estimators who miss out on winning a project is, ‘the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of the lowest price is long forgotten’.
“I enjoy winning work, executing it well, and doing it safely. I have a busy and very interesting role that touches all areas of the business.
“Working with good people aligned in purpose makes my job rewarding and enjoyable. Our people are our only sustainable competitive advantage and we need to invest in them to maintain that advantage.
“At the moment, I’m managing the recently awarded mining project start-up at Mount Cattlin and crushing start-ups at Western Range and Mount Magnet.
“Depending on the size, I’m typically involved with new projects for three to six months, overseeing recruitment, plant and fleet mobilisation, and infrastructure, before handing over to Brett or Josh our Mining General Managers who have the ongoing management of the operation,” said Jim.
Jim enjoys cycling an ‘easy’ 85km home to work and return a couple of times a week and since joining the team has participated in the MACA sponsored bike rides for charity.
“Ride for Youth is an excellent event, 750km in 5 days and MACA is a major fundraiser. I certainly recommend it to anyone willing to give it a go.
“The MACA Cancer 200 is a credit to our organisation, it is a major event fundraiser in WA which is extremely well run. MACA’s community involvement is second to none,” said Jim.
For Jim, his next five years has retirement on the horizon.
“I’ve done a lot throughout my career, so when I retire, I plan on putting my feet up, travelling with my wife Denise, and doing lots of riding. I will eventually get around to building my holiday home in Dongara.”