Wade Remington has fond memories of working on cattle stations in the Mount Isa region as a 20-year-old mechanic.
So when he got tired of the fly-in, fl y-out lifestyle in the Bowen Basin coal industry, after a decade of work there, the North West sprang to mind.
“Everyone was so friendly and nice that I always thought I wouldn’t mind going back,” he said.
Mr Remington started Topfi re Constructions in Mount Isa in 2009 and hasn’t looked back – taking out the business of the year and business growth awards at this year’s Northern Outback Business Awards.
“It’s good being recognised for all the hard work we put in,” Mr Remington said.
Topfire Constructions focuses on civil infrastructure including major earthworks, pipeline welding and repairs, civil contracting, heavy haulage and plant hire for a wide range of mining, industrial and commercial projects. For Mr Remington, the key to success in a tough market is being versatile and reliable.
“Times change and you have to be prepared to change, especially in this climate… and be bloody good at what you do and make sure the customers come first,” he said
Th at included being prepared to go in at 2am when a customer had a problem, such as pipeline blow-out he dealt with recently for Glencore, he said.
Mr Remington grew up in Murgon and took on an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic in Gympie at 14, before also gaining qualifi cations as an electrical linesman.
He said he had never set out to go into business, but an opportunity arose and he ran with it.
“I started with just myself, an Isuzu service vehicle and $10,000,” he said.
The business now employs nine people fulltime and boasts a fleet worth millions.