BUILDING UP: Geoff Murphy with one of the many projects his company has built.
BUILDING UP: Geoff Murphy with one of the many projects his company has built. Allan Reinikka Rokamurphy

Tenders keep Geoff in business

IT WAS the slowest start to a year that Rocky builder Geoff Murphy has seen in his 54 years, but as 2015 draws to a close the outlook is a bit brighter.

Mr Murphy said while there could always be more work, things were "fairly positive" in his firm, JM Kelly.

"Things are going alright... Rocky and CQ are still fairly strong," he said.

The year has seen plenty of changes for Mr Murphy - and he said pushing his own comfort zone was key to surviving the slow start.

"I think to be quite honest we have had to look outside our comfort zone," he said.

"To look for that work, we've had to go out and look in other areas, even though we've always been involved in other areas, but we've had to look for more work in places like Brisbane, for example.

"I think that's the thing that has given us the catalyst - working out of our comfort zone."

Tenders are what bring in business, and Mr Murphy said with tenders comes the obvious need to remain very competitive in a big market.

"If we don't win tenders, we don't win work," he said.

"That's where the majority of our work comes from. Very little work actually comes from people coming in and saying 'we'd like you to build this for us'. There is a certain amount of that but the majority is price-based and tender-based."

Though Mr Murphy said he was surprised to hear himself say the words, he said this year he had a lot to thank local politicians for.

"I'd congratulate our Members of Parliament because the government has been giving a reasonable amount of money to Rockhampton Regional Council and to Livingstone Shire Council and that's the first time in a long, long time," he said.

"I could nearly go so far as to say it's the best I've ever seen in 55 years.

"A lot of businesses are still doing it tough, don't get me wrong, but I think that the government is spending some money here it's the catalyst for more development to take place which will help a lot of people."

Through JM Kelly, Mr Murphy has signed up an average of 15 apprentices a year for the past 50 years.

"I am a big believer in giving as many young people as possible the opportunity to gain an apprenticeship and subsequently a trade, as I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity by Jack Kelly (JM Kelly) many years ago and have him to thank for the many gifts and rewards I have been able to reap during my lifetime," he said.

In October Mr Murphy was inducted into the esteemed QUT Construction Hall of Fame, joining other iconic construction greats including Sir John Holland, Leslie Thiess, Jack Hutchinson and Cyril Golding.

As part of a recent regional employment drive, JM Kelly recently pledged to provide employment for 10 new employees. Since making the pledge, they have already put on 14 new staff.

Over the past six months, JM Kelly has put on more than 60 new employees, something Mr Murphy is very proud of.

Top five projects for 2015

Empire

Salt at Yeppoon

Keppel Kraken

Mercy College Mackay

St Patrick's in Shorncliffe (Brisbane)



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