Case Study

CRE Group builds success through great relationships

Cat and CRE Group

CRE Group has a solid relationship with Cat machinery through dealer, William Adams. This has held the business in good stead, attracting a steady stream of operator talent and continuing to grow.

The CRE Group was formed in 2019 by Directors and good friends, Patrick Doheny and Michael Harding. Doheny and Harding were both working for MPK on several pipeline projects for QGC when they made the move to Melbourne, and formed their first earthmoving business in 2014. After selling their interest, they created CRE Group in early 2019 and haven’t looked back.

It seems earthmoving is in the duo’s blood. Doheny himself grew up around machinery, with his father owning a plant hire business at home in Tipperary, Ireland. His first experiences of driving machinery were when his dad showed him the ins and outs of the game at an early age. After decades of developing his skills, Doheny was one of two Australians to win the Asia Regional Cat Global Operator Challenge a few months back in Chichibu, Japan, qualifying to compete against the world’s best at Con-Expo in Las Vegas in 2023.

Opportunity in Australia

When Harding moved to Australia, he quickly found a love for and natural ability in the earthmoving industry. He first worked on oil and gas pipelines in Queensland before making his way south with Doheny to start CRE Group. With Harding’s natural affinity for operating machines and both his and Doheny’s diligent management skills, it’s not surprising to see CRE Group on the road to success and to have already attracted a talent pool of operators.

CRE’s day-to-day operations involve excavators, dump trucks, dozers, loaders, and crushing equipment, moving large amounts of material across numerous sites.

Career highlights and challenges

Both Harding and Doheny have accumulated many highlights in their careers thus far, but when chatting with Doheny about a few standouts, he shared: “Hosting the Dig Deep Event will always be a special memory for us as a company, it was a great day brought together by the earthmoving industry. Also buying our first Cat machine was a surreal moment. It’s great to look back now and see how far we’ve come.”

Running a successful business is no easy feat, and it’s the hard lessons learned that shape the most successful of businesses. Asking Harding and Doheny about their biggest challenges so far, they shared: “Finding the right people for our projects can be tough; everyone’s been affected by labour shortages. CRE Group hold a high standard for operators, engineers, and project managers and we’re always looking for top quality operators that take as much pride in the machinery as we do.

“We are very lucky to have a team that takes such pride and care in their work, and also have high work ethics. They are a great bunch of lads and we appreciate their effort, skills, and abilities in our Cat fleet.”

Working with William Adams

The team at CRE have been working with William Adams and Cat since they started. They put down their love of the Cat products to their excavators’ and dozers’ great quality, minimal down time, and the high level of customer service and after sale service from William Adams.

“Our very first purchase was a Cat® D6T XW and since then we have moved onto using Cat excavators, dump trucks, dozers, and loaders. It’s been a combination of the power, operator comfort, built-in technology, and reliability that has proved to us that Cat is the right choice for us and our business,” Doheny said.

“The 3D grade control and the auto feature on the dozer is a necessity with the tolerances we must adhere to in our industry, which for us means less rework on finished levels while increasing speed and accuracy of final trim.

By eliminating over and under excavation and reducing the need for personnel on the ground setting out levels and checking design, we can achieve the efficiencies we are looking for as a business.”

Building success through great relationships

The team at CRE have built a great relationship with their William Adams Sales Representative, Michael Mattiacci. Mattiacci has helped Doheny and Harding navigate the road to setting up and running CRE from its inception, with a history that goes back many years prior.

“Michael has always been our rep, we’ve come a long way. He has always been great to deal with and always pushes hard to assist us when needed, and at times we have needed exactly that. It’s been great to know that Michael has our back when we need it. Michael’s experience in the industry is substantial and his product knowledge and perspective is invaluable. We’re forever grateful for the stage we’re at now, and we’ll keep on building the relationships with our current and new clients,” the CRE duo shared.

“We plan to build our management team and continue to grow, with the same values as when we first started using our expertise to provide earthmoving services for our clients Australia wide. We have great peace of mind knowing that both Michael, William Adams and Cat are behind us to help us achieve our goals. We see William Adams as a partner, and we will continue to work closely with them on future projects.” When asking Harding and Doheny what advice they would share with their younger selves or other companies starting out in the industry, they shared: “Surround yourself with good people, enjoy the journey, stay focused, and the sacrifices you make along the way certainly pay off.”

Spot-on advice for anyone looking to make a success of themselves in any industry!

While in Melbourne, spending the day with the CRE boys, we also caught up with Mattiacci. We had a chance to chew the fat and see what was happening in the world of William Adams and the relationship with the CRE team.

“I’ve been in equipment sales and the Government, Waste & Rail industries for 11 years now, and I’ve known Patrick and his brother since 2017. The boys’ first machine purchase from me was a D6T dozer and 330F excavator (both with 3D) back in 2018. For a lot of operators and businesses deciding to step out on their own, this is an important part of the journey – and being able to take care of the CRE team at this stage has been a pleasure,” he shared.

“New Next Generation excavators have been a game changer for people who need 3D. Matching up new Cat gear with the latest technologies with the CRE operators – who I’ve found to be amongst the best I’ve come across – is going to be a great milestone for CRE. I’ve been lucky enough to build a good relationship with both Michael and Patrick, and it’s always a great indication of their level of professionalism when I see how well they look after their machines.”

According to Mattiacci, due to his customer base the workload has been at a fever pitch like many others in the industry.

“Now, my role is also involved with Victoria’s Big Build projects, namely North East Link, so the pressure for me is only increasing,” he said. “But it’s the challenges and the reward of working with, and helping build, our clients’ businesses and achieve their goals that makes it all worth it.”

With Doheny heading off to Con-Expo early next year as one of the two Australians that could win the Cat® Global Operator Challenge, you would think that he would be a stand-out operator at CRE. But it’s clear after chatting with Mattiacci that he is just one of a very talented bunch at CRE. However, it’s also safe to say that his money is on Doheny to take out the Cat Operator Challenge title, this coming March.


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