Based in Southern Sydney, Milestone Civil Australia is a contractor on the up-and-up. The company’s exponential growth of late is due in part to their hard and smart work ethic, but it can also be attributed to the strong relationship they have with their finance broker, Finlease, who they see as part of their family.
Words Jake d. Frost
Paul Shenouda started Milestone in 2012 after serving for five years as a paratrooper in the Australian Defense Force. Even though Paul had some previous experience in civil works, he began the business as something a little different.
“After I left the Australian Army I couldn’t find a job,” the ambitious 29 year old laments, frustrated at the lack of support for military veterans. “I started doing a construction degree part-time and ended up getting into Demolition works. Over time I acquired three or four trucks and was running demolition strip-outs for construction companies. I had 15 to 20 labourers working with me. I didn’t have too much previous experience, but I always had it in my heart to work for myself because no-one gave me an opportunity. And whatever I did I just wanted to push and become the best at it.”
From there Paul’s business grew in a new direction rather organically. “A friend introduced me to a Project Manager on a Downer site, doing roadworks,” he continues.
“He asked me if I do any excavation work.
I said yes, I do. So, I went and bought a brand new 5-tonne Yanmar. I hired top-notch operators from recruitment agencies that could help me do the work. From there I got asked for more machines. I paid my staff good money so experienced people could help me get the jobs done, and whilst doing it they showed me, so I was still learning along the way.”
As the company began to develop Paul needed help managing the business. He turned to his long-time friend, Josh Doyle, who he met in early 2000 when they worked together for a specialised civil contractor.
From there they became mates and stayed in touch.
“Paul established the company and it started to grow quite rapidly around demolition and then he moved into earthmoving,” Josh begins to outline his early involvement. “I was working as a project manager and had just finished a job doing a dig out. Business was really starting to kick off for Paul and we talked about how he could grow the company even more. I had worked for quite a few large, well-established companies in civil and construction, and from that I had obviously gained a lot of experience in regards to the commercial side of the business; business management, systems and procedures, procurement and compliance.”
Josh’s induction started out as just a bit of casual assisting. He was giving advice as a friend and helping with a few basic management systems. But then the two mates saw potential in their professional relationship and so they worked out an agreement for Josh to buy into the company as a co-owner and director.
“I remember someone said to me that the opportunity of a lifetime may only last the time of that opportunity,” Josh recalls. “I remember it just hit me one day and I thought to myself that I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t jump on board. From there I took a risk and resigned from my secure job. It was a lot of hard work at the start; there was a lot of structure that needed to get in place for the company to grow.”
And grow it did! They went from only having six key staff, to now having over 60 dedicated employees on the payroll. And their plant equipment also continues to multiply at a rapid rate, having bought 17 new machines this year. “By the time this article comes out we’ll have 20 [excavators] in our fleet, and in March last year we only had one truck, and now we’ve got eight,” Josh states proudly.
From humble beginnings as a small clean-up crew, Milestone now take care of so much more. “We offer a full turnkey service,” says Josh, “from demolition all the way through to completed, handed-over basements, which includes demolition site clearing, retention systems, piling, anchoring, shotcrete, bulk and detailed earthworks. As an Unrestricted demolition license holder, we also carry out large scale Demolition works where we specialise in Demolition and decommissioning of petrol stations, obsolete industrial, commercial sites and Multi-level structures. In addition to this we also offer environmental services such as site remediation and hazardous waste management.
“We’re a quality, reliable, professional company and are always refining what we do. We understand the importance of a good referral and reputation. In the end, the service that we provide to our clients is what really matters. The most important thing to us is our brand as its who we are.
The name Milestone was derived from the common word used in the construction Industry, it is to reach a significant stage within a development. Our company specialise in the early works of construction and ensure that our clients projects reach these significant stages.
For the company to grow so rapidly the boys obviously need financial assistance.
When things started getting serious they turned to Finlease, a well-established Australian broking firm who do more than just lend money.
“Finlease share similar business beliefs as we do,” Josh explains. “Our account manager Brendan MacLean has been a vital part of our growth as a company. He has really cared about our business; he’s encouraged us all the way, and then pulled us back at times when he thought we were potentially over committing. He has our best interest at heart. When we decide to buy a new machine, Brendan is the first person we call. He knows enough about our business and understands enough about how we work to be able to actually give us advice. Brendan will advise on how to stage it, what to bundle and what to separate. It’s sound advice, almost like he’s part of the family.”
Paul confirms their strong relationship by stating, “We won’t use anyone else”, while Brendan from Finlease reiterates Josh’s sentiments. “We have very similar, like-minded cultures,” he says of their businesses. “It’s not just about doing a transaction or doing a job, it’s more about understanding what the other person wants for their business.”
With driving passion, Paul and Josh are aiming to take the company even further, with the latter saying; “We’d like to move into boutique development and waste recycling.
We want to grow our brand and create a company that can outlast us. Paul and I try to always stop and remember that we’re just two mates having a go.”
It’s obvious that as Milestone Civil Australia continues to expand, Finlease will always be there to help them along the way.
[colored_box color=”yellow”]For more information visit milestoneaustralia.com.au or call 1300 624 845.[/colored_box]