Geotechnical service conquers new territory in top end
HiQA Geotechnical was a major winner at the 2017 Telstra Northern Territory Business Awards coming away with two accolades on Tuesday July 4. However, the sampling and testing company – which works with the construction, defence and mining industries – is already looking ahead to new frontiers.
The company, led by managing director and founder Luke Myall, was named Northern Territory Business of the Year, after winning Medium Business of the Year at the 25th edition of the prestigious awards.
Last month, HiQA newcomer James Acton also took out the Rae Snodgrass Apprentice of the Year at the Civil Contractors Federation NT Earth Awards.
Mr Myall, 37, of Bayview in Darwin, said the recent recognition was testament to the skill and attitude of his expertly trained technicians across Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine laboratories.
“I started the business nine years ago to push the boundaries in sampling and testing. Then, when you find employees’ who have a similar mind-set and energy and who understand your customer-centric approach, it makes for an exciting workplace,” Mr Myall said.
Beginning in Katherine, Mr Myall recalled working from an outback shed in temperatures of 42C, and travelling long distances to collect samples.
“I left my management position and now fiancé, Kerrylee Pike, in Darwin to live in a cheap motel while I got the business going,” he said.
“It was tough at times, but I knew there was a demand for the service in Katherine and I had a five-year plan to better my position in the industry – and in life. It’s definitely paid off.”
Mr Myall quickly established a reputation for innovative practices in geotechnical services, and in 2009 he opened an Alice Springs laboratory where he appointed his first staff.
Ms Pike then left her career in education to take on a full-time position in finance and administration at HiQA in 2011. Her six-year anniversary with the company coincided with the Telstra awards this week.
Now, the family business employs 45 people and works with more than 50 suppliers. The company operates three NATA-accredited laboratories across the Territory as well as mobile site labs, which travel as far as Western Australia. It is the only company in the region offering soil, concrete, aggregate and asphalt testing and sampling.
In June this year, HiQA also launched a state-of-the-art Asphalt Laboratory with NATA-accreditation, which offers a range of test methods necessary for asphalts in harsh north Australian conditions. Furthermore, the company enjoyed a 67 per cent growth in sales last financial year, despite slow industry trends.
Next, Mr Myall plans to expand into Tenant Creek and introduce geotechnical engineering to the company’s growing list of sought-after services.
“We always put our clients first and are driven to provide them with a ‘yes’ experience every time. These awards simply give our supporters confidence knowing they are getting the best service in NT.”
Mr Acton, who joined the Darwin laboratory in 2014, described working for HiQA as rewarding.
The 26-year-old field technician, who is also a finalist in the 2017 NT Training Awards to be announced on September 22, said: “It’s the diversity in the projects that I love the most. I could be in the bush, at a subdivision, a boat ramp or a major highway.
“The company has also shown me great support while studying my Cert 4 and Diploma in Laboratory Technology.”
HiQA looks forward to representing the Territory at the national Telstra Business Awards in Sydney on August 25, 2017.
ABOUT HiQA Geotechnical: Providing Northern Territory government, construction, defence and mining industries with expert testing and sampling services. With NATA-accredited laboratories in Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine and mobile site laboratories, this family owned company promises every client a ‘yes’ experience. Established in 2008, HiQA Geotechnical is the only provider of industry-leading soil, concrete, aggregate and asphalt testing. For more visit: http://hiqa.com.au