Our Top 20 of 2020

December 1, 2020

In a year that can easily be described as brutal, we’ve decided to end our year with a celebration. Welcome to McKenzie & Co.’s Top 20 of 2020.

#20 – We are McKenzie & Co.

On our final day of our Top 20 of 2020, we’re celebrating us!

Because we pulled together as a team, supported each other, put our wellbeing first, welcomed new team members, upped our professional game and continued to work hard for our clients despite what 2020 kept dishing up.

Here’s to 2020 and all she threw at us.

#19 – We’re investing in internal efficiencies

We’re putting our money where our mouths are. In today’s highly competitive and innovative market, we can’t afford take our “foot off the pedal”.

In 2020 we upped our game with a handful of new internal appointments to better the way we do our businesses. One of the most exciting is the appointment of a Software Designer.

We’re now literally designing and building our own solutions to introduce efficiencies, saving time and money for our clients.

#18 – Our Taupo office is Green (SiteWise Green) for the second year

Our Taupo team achieved SiteWise Green status for the second year in a row.

SiteWise is a prequalification system that grades a contractor’s health & safety capability and publishes that grade in a database that can be viewed by main contractor’s and principal organisations. This allows for better contractor selection and an easier tendering process for everyone involved.

Nice one Taupo.

#17 – The next generation of McKenzie & Co.’ers is here.

We couldn’t list our Top 20 of 2020 without a nod to the next generation of McKenzie & Co.’ers.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Melville family on their newest arrival, little Zara. Under the expert tutelage of her big brother and sister, Zara is sure to don the hard hat and follow in Dad’s footsteps.

We also want to acknowledge, our Grandad of the century Merv, who welcomed his fourth grandchild, little Willow. Unfortunately for Merv, Willow lives in Sydney. So his dotting can only be virtual for now, but we know he is saving up his best grandad cuddles for when they can finally meet in person.

#16 – Romance is alive and well in 2020

In a year of turmoil and uncertainty it’s no wonder so many of our McKenzie & Co. team dropped knee or said “I Do”. As they say when the world throws you a global pandemic…”Grab your loved ones and hold them close.”

CONGRATULATIONS to:

  • Patrick P for marrying his sweetheart, Rachael
  • Anuj C for marrying his Queen, Queena
  • Sarah K for saying “yes” to her man in blue, Dylan
  • Matthew B for not technically dropping knee but still proposing to Samantha
  • Haka S for securing his lady love for life, Selena

#15 – Our internal COVID response

While the above image indicates it was all fun and games as we worked from home during lockdown, we were only able to do so because of the early and decisive leadership of our directors and senior management team.

A week before lockdown was announced our leadership upped the ante in terms of health & safety in the office and on site – in particular hygiene. On Friday before the lockdown was announced, our leadership sent us home with all the hardware and software resources to make working from home as undisruptive as possible. When lockdown officially hit, we were comfortably tucked up in our homes getting used to our new working environments. From that point onwards we received almost daily company updates and wellbeing advice, along with online drinks and COVID competitions to keep things light and keep us connected.

It was clear from the outset we were McKenzie & Co. priority. For that we collectively say thank you to our management, and to everyone else in our workplace who reached out, lent a hand (or an ear) and encouraged us to keep going during lockdown.

#14 – Our public COVID response

If ever there was a need for clear, concise and calm leadership, 2020 was it.

Top of mind during the pandemic were two key groups of people – our clients, contractors and subbies and our people. In the mad scramble to get our entire business working remotely from a virtual environment, our directors and senior leaders never lost sight of the first of these key groups.

It was vitally important to us that our clients and contractors understood what was happening on our sites, how this would directly affect them and, most importantly, give them confidence that we could manage the fallout from the lockdown.

The proof is in the pudding, so they say. We came out the other side of lockdown with guns blazing and haven’t looked back since.

#13 – We joined the Association of Consulting and Engineering

As a professional land development consultancy firm with specialist civil engineers on the team, we’re experts in our fields. Aligning ourselves with the Association of Consulting and Engineering of New Zealand (ACENZ) was a bit of a no brainer.

The industry insights and news in their weekly newsletters are valuable and the training and other networking opportunities really seal the deal.

#12 – We opened a new office in Rotorua

Hats off to our Central North Island team. Under the leadership of manager Jerome Feuillade and with the driving force of Rotorua-based surveyor Allan Price behind him, we’ve opened a new office in Rotorua.

Through their hard work and with the support of the rest of the Taupo team, we’ve carved out a large enough slice of the Rotorua Surveying and Land development market to warrant a local office.

And so the fourth McKenzie & Co. office hub opened it’s doors in November of this year. Allan will be primarily based from the Rotorua office while continuing to support Taupo as well. If you’re looking for local surveying and land development consulting skills, look no further than McKenzie & Co. Rotorua.

#11 – We undergrounded Transpower’s high voltage transmission lines

McKenzie & Co. have spent years working alongside our development partners in South Auckland to facilitate the undergrounding of Transpower’s Otahuhu to Whakamaru A & B (OTA-WHK A & B) overhead transmission lines. It’s a bold move for any developer to attempt as the planning, logistics and costs are complex and significant. We applaud the group of developers who banded together to make this happen, and to our team who have worked tirelessly to deliver it.

In a nutshell, this project involved undergrounding two of the three OTA-WHK transmission lines. The 900m section of lines included the removal of six transmission towers on land earmarked for residential development in Flat Bush, with the installation of two transition station where overhead lines and converted into underground cables and vice versa.  The removal of the overhead cabling and towers has had a positive visual impact on the immediate area, and will be beneficial to all the future residential occupants.

She was no small task and the completion of this project firmly belongs in our Top 20 of 2020.

#10 – We increased our head count in a year of economic uncertainty

Hot on the heels of celebrating our interns, we’re celebrating our expanding team. In a year where many businesses have faced economic uncertainty and job losses, McKenzie & Co. have increased our people numbers by 18, including our interns.

And a couple of these wonderful humans started their contracts during lockdown, meaning we inducted them to their roles in an entirely virtual environment. That’s adaptability and perseverance for you.

Welcome to the McKenzie & Co. class of 2020:

  1. Don Wu, Civil Engineer
  2. Krystal Askin, Office Administrator
  3. Nathan McIntosh, Senior Engineer
  4. Shahbaz Sandhu, Design Engineer
  5. Ethan Bolstad, Project Manager
  6. Xander Tait – Licensed Cadastral Surveyor
  7. Mark Towers – Senior Engineer
  8. Scott Ferguson – Software Developer
  9. James Renall – Business Development Manager
  10. Joash Naidoo – Surveyor
  11. Edward Light, Senior Engineer Surveyor/Civil Design Engineer
  12. Jackson Mohi, Construction Project Engineer
  13. Patrick Coughlan, Surveying intern
  14. Tim Hall, Surveying intern
  15. Sam Ryan, Surveying intern
  16. Yatin Bijan, Civil Engineering intern
  17. Tim De Wit, Civil Engineering intern
  18. Helen Meng, Civil Engineering intern

#9 – We welcomed our largest intake of interns in 2020

You little beauties! We were all set to host an impressive stand at the University of Auckland’s careers expo with the aim of attracting the top tier of civil interns to McKenzie & Co. Then the second lockdown hit Auckland, the expo was cancelled and our grand plans were dashed.

Little did we know 2020 interns are resourceful and driven. With only a small ad on Facebook, we still managed to attract over 120 applicants for two civil interns positions. (That’s the largest number of applicants we’ve ever had.) And such was the calibre of 2020’s applicants, we had to create a new intern position in order to nab our top three candidates.

Welcome to the team Yatin Vijan (far left) and Helen Meng (far right) both second year Civil Engineering students at the University of Auckland, and Tim De Wit (centre) our newly graduated Civil Engineer also from the University of Auckland.

Alongside our newbies, we welcomed back our team of surveying interns, Tim Hall who is based out of our Taupo office, and Sam Ryan and Patrick Coughlan both based in Auckland. These three gents have proven themselves in the past and continue todo so this summer intern season too.

We are very fortunate to have such a rich and diverse group of interns representing the two fields of expertise we pride ourselves on. The future is looking bright, very bright.

#8 – Celebrating the real MVPs…our families and loved ones

Our team work hard, like really hard, but none more so than the partners and loved ones of our team.

As land development consultants we’re often faced with peaks and troughs in our work schedules. When projects demand it, the hours are long, challenging and also rewarding.

So once a year we bring our four offices together and throw a big celebration in the disguise of a Christmas party. But really it’s our way of saying thank you to all the families and loved ones who support our team from the sidelines.

It’s not always a glamorous supporting gig, but we see you and we appreciate you.

#7 – ZERO loss of time incidents

ZERO! Zip, zilch, nada, none.

When our people walk out the door in the morning and wave their loved ones goodbye, we all expect them to walk back in that door at the end of the day.

This top 20 get’s us a bit misty-eyed. We sent every single one of our team home at the end of each work day well and on one piece.

We’ve worked hard with our people, our clients and our contractors to ensure that safety is a priority. Safety in design, in our behaviours, on our project sites and in our offices.

We’ll continue to work hard on health & safety everyday to make sure we keep this record intact.

#6 – Putting wellbeing first with EAP

2020 has delivered some big blows. Let’s be honest for a minute…she’s been a tough one alright.

In the scramble to get workforces set up and working from home under strict lockdown conditions, it became apparent very quickly that wellbeing support was just as important if not more, than health & safety in the field.

Lucky for McKenzie & Co., we had established a relationship with EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) at the beginning of the year. Little did we know how important the service would become.

Through the service, our people can now access 24/7 wellbeing support for any number of reason, not just work related. The service is free for our people and 100% confidential.

At McKenzie & Co., we’re a team. And we’re here to back our team up and offer them support without question…it’s what you do for your team mates.

#5 – Cycling up a storm in our spare time

Our Taupo team are more than a tight knit group of land development experts. They’re also a keen bunch of lycra wearing cyclists.

For the last three months they’ve been taking part in the Dynamo Teams Championship Series, which is a series of six races, with three races still to come.

The lads are currently sitting at the top of the teams leaderboard, after their careful race strategy has paid dividends. Read all about it here.

#4 – Five years of McKenzie & Co. Taupo

Five years ago, the McKenzie & Co. team started looking south in a bid to expand on their surveying skills. Our search began and ended in Taupo with the surveyers formerly known as Central Surveys.

After a brief dating period we soon made the match official and the Taupo branch of McKenzie & Co. was born.

We wrote about the acquisition a year ago. Year can read all about it here.

#3 – We kept our traditions alive

2020 stole weeks of our time through heavily restricted lockdowns, particularly for those of us in Auckland. It would have been too easy to allow this disruption to to halt our traditions.

Well, there was one particular tradition that we prioritised keeping alive – our annual McKenzie & Co. Pool Cup. This coveted cup, played for by members of our Manukau and Auckland CBD office, was a great way to bring our teams back together after the two lockdowns. It gave us the nudge we needed to get out from behind the computer screens and have a laugh with our colleagues.

We started with eight pools, rounds of 32 and 16, quarter and semi finals before the coveted Cup was played for between our Manukau based Finance Manager, Matthew Boylan and CBD based Business Development Manager, James Renall.

And the winner was…James Renall for the CBD office!!!

#2 – Auranga welcomed it’s first residents

Six years ago a fledgling McKenzie & Co. launched its self into the land development market. Thanks to Charles Ma and our friends at MADE Ltd, Auranga became our flagship project. We’ve been inseparable ever since, it’s part of our DNA so to speak.

We’ve put in the hard graft alongside the Auranga team to bring this ground breaking 85ha master-planned community to life. With upwards of 1350 stand-alone homes, duplexes, terraces and apartments and 17ha of landscaped reserves, walkways, cycleways, fitness trails and a dog agility park, this great city of Auckland’s south is a homeowners dream come true.

To see Auranga welcome its first residents into their new homes is like watching your toddler take their first steps. Excitement, pride, and elation all mixed together. While it’s been six years and more in the making, this is just the beginning of a wonderful adventure for the families who are going to call Auranga home.

#1 – We launched our new brand

McKenzie & Co. have grown and evolved rapidly since our inception in 2014. To reflect this growth we wanted to present ourselves to the market with a eye-catching and uniquely Kiwi look.

As land developers, land is at the heart of everything we do. We see a future where better environments create great places for people to grow and this is reflected in our new brand. We’ve taken inspiration from our natural environment, its form, structure, colours and textures.

Our new style reflects the fractals, perfectly found in nature and delivers our own take on the lines and curves that appear when people and nature coexist. Our colour palette is a direct representation of the hues that paint our landscapes – moss, wood, water, and sand.

We are McKenzie & Co. Developing great places and people.