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Good staff the core of successful company

Kim Stewart Dec 12
Good staff the core of successful company
Father and son team Johnny (left) and John Marnane run Contrax Central with a key piece of equipment, a D9 bulldozer.

Family owned company Contrax Central has been operating throughout Southland and Central Otago for more than 30 years, gaining a vast knowledge base during this time.

The Cromwell-based business is headed by father and son team John and Johnny Marnane.John was brought up on a sheep and crop farm in Western Southland, operating machinery since his early years.

In 2005 John founded Contrax (Central) Ltd with a vision of creating a successful family-owned business. He enjoys liaising with clients to create a shared vision and to produce an end result of the highest standard.

With machinery in the family DNA, for Johnny, it was virtually inevitable he would follow in his father’s footsteps; he has now worked in the business for more than 12 years and is the company’s operating manager.

Contrax Central has an extensive fleet of more than 25 units of modern equipment from D9 bulldozers and 20 tonne excavators, a grader and scrapers, to trucks and trailers, tip trucks and light machinery.

In addition to earthmoving related work, its services includes the ability to lay pipes and cables, including trenchless equipment for installing pipe beneath highways.A key item of equipment in Contrax’s D9 bulldozers and some excavators is a GPS guided 3D grade control display.

When starting a job, the system is loaded with data provided by a surveyor; this enables the machine operator to finish faster with less rework, less staking, less checking, lower costs and improved material yields.

“There’s no hold-ups, no measuring. You are following the display, you’ve got a picture of the machine, where you are and you are picking the lines you need to follow,” Johnny says.

“There is a massive saving in surveying costs, so it’s a saving for the client.” Contrax Central’s location at Cromwell means the company undertakes a considerable amount of work for vineyards.

This varies from using a D9 bulldozer to rip out clay pans in the ground so vine roots can go deeper, to creating large water storage ponds for vineyards and orchards.

One project completed this year involved constructing a 20,000 cubic metre pond for frost-fighting water storage for a vineyard. Other areas of expertise include site preparation, subdivisions, roading, civil earthworks, residential and commercial landscaping and driveways.

The company’s 12 staff are a tremendous asset to the company, especially in an environment where it is difficult to recruit skilled workers, or where training new staff requires a significant investment of time, Johnny says.

“It’s all about the staff. “It’s important to have the trust that you can go to a job and know they can do it and manage themselves nicely and when you turn up to see the job and think that I couldn’t have done any better myself. That’s really awesome.

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