A Company Culture 50 Years Strong


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-By Melissa Thompson

The nature of the building and construction industry is cyclical. Economic downturn has resulted in success for some and devastating loss for others. As a result of its strong client relationships and reputation as the go-to firm that does it all, Wood & Grieve Engineers (WGE) has remained successful. It has proven itself as a leader and a company that can take on challenging jobs while still providing the highest levels of customer service. This attitude and commitment to clients has resulted in a stellar reputation and repeat business throughout the Australian markets. As the company approaches its 50th anniversary next year, it looks forward to continued success and expansion.

Specialising in land and civil development as well as numerous types of engineering consulting, WGE was founded in 1961 by Tony Wood and Kip Grieve and was based in West Perth. At the time, its focus was structural and mechanical engineering design. In 1969, electrical services were added and in the early 1970s, further expansion resulted in civil services being added to WGE’s repertoire. The firm has since grown into a national company with a staff of over 300. Its six offices are located throughout the metropolitan areas of Australia and include one office in Shenzhen, China.

WGE provides civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, hydraulics, fire, ESD and acoustic engineering consulting in a number of sectors. This “one stop shop” approach has enabled WGE to become one of Australia’s most successful consulting firms. While some clients might be reluctant to patronise companies that function using this model, fearing they are “˜jacks of all trades, masters of none,’ Jose Granado is confident that this is not the case at Wood & Grieve. Mr Granado, WGE’s Director and National Project Coordinator says, “if you put the right people on the job, you have the ability to provide a fully coordinated service, and that’s what Wood and Grieve Engineers aims to do.”

Credit Where Credit is Due

While Wood & Grieve has been the recipient of numerous awards, Mr Granado is particularly proud of ones that are representative of client recognition. The company has previously been recognised by Business Review Weekly as winner of the Professional Services Client Choice Awards for best Western Australia firm and best National firm. It has also been honoured by numerous industry associations for its work on specific projects over the years – from awards for lighting design in the 80’s to commendation for “Best State Government Building” award for WA Basketball Centre in 2010.

Fundamentally, Wood & Grieve relies on two guiding principles in its approach to work, helping it to become a “truly reputable national company.” The first is the provision of exceptional service to clients above all else. Second, the firm considers it key to recognise that “the best and most important asset Wood and Grieve Engineers has is its people.” By being consistent and reaching out to employees to meet their needs, WGE has kept staff turnover low and created a fun and relaxed company culture – a culture responsible for much of the firm’s success. Staff members receive positive reinforcement, and milestones and achievements are monitored and presented to employees on a weekly basis. The fact that the company is 100% owned by employees also speaks to Wood & Grieve’s commitment to staff agency. When the company does well, two profit shares are passed on to staff members yearly. As a result, there is a real incentive to do quality work and to maintain the firm’s already solid reputation. This model has been largely responsible for creating a real team atmosphere at WGE.

The approach the company takes to work-life balance, along with its commitment to teamwork, has resulted in an open and transparent atmosphere. All employees at WGE are, quite literally, on the same level. “No one has a cubicle with a door…everyone is accessible.” It encourages employees to get off their chairs and talk to each other face to face, rather than always relying on telephone and interoffice email. This promotion of personal interaction results in employees at all levels knowing each other by name. The employment of what Mr Granado calls a “non-hierarchical structure” results in senior level and newer staff members working side-by-side, problem solving and learning together, even if that means working late into the night.

A Legacy To Be Proud Of

While Messrs Wood and Grieve are no longer involved in the day-to-day operations, they are familiar faces at WGE functions and events. “Kip and Tony are always there,” says Mr Granado, “as are all the other previous managing directors. They always get invited, and they always come, which is really, really nice. They’re very proud, and they can’t wipe the smiles off their faces.” Past employees mingle with new faces to share ideas and engage one another as WGE promotes a “work hard, play hard” atmosphere. Staff and their partners are encouraged to involve themselves in Wood & Grieve’s social clubs and to participate in community fundraisers.

Ultimately, WGE heads into the future as a firm ready for challenging and high profile jobs while promoting personal and professional growth from within its workforce. It brings highly skilled professionals and strong partnerships to the table, and strives to be a company that “provides exceptional service and has fun doing it.” With its open approach and strong culture, Wood & Grieve has proven itself an adaptable and capable company committed to the highest of standards.

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

July 14, 2020, 12:57 AM AEST