Don's Story is brought to you by Roald Badenhorst
Division Manager, Civil Construction, Auckland
The person's name and likeness have been changed for privacy reasons
Tell us about this person and how you originally came across them?
"Don had his own business for a time, and after selling it he got a little bit bored and wanted to get back into the construction industry. He just loved operating machines. That’s when he reached out and I managed to get him a job and he started off as one of the main digger operators on a site. He progressed up and he’s now leading a whole site again. He applied for a job online originally and he started there as a lead operator but it didn’t take them long to figure out that he’s an absolute genius and they gave him a bit more responsibility and he took the bull by the horns as they say and just progressed through the ranks from there."
What was it that stood out about this candidate to you?
"Just his absolute passion for civil construction. He always called it ‘playing in the mud’; he loves operating machines and moving dirt so that’s really what stood out to me. It is rare to find that sort of passion for what you do and that’s just what he loves doing."
"I suppose its quite humbling because he’s been in the industry for over 25 years and just how open he was to share his knowledge was admirable. I know I learnt a hell of a lot from him. I initially didn’t know much about the different machines in construction and the fact that he could operate most of them and he was pretty open to sharing the more technical elements attached to operating diggers, bulldozers, meant I generally learnt a lot from him."
Do you feel you were able to impact them positively in the experience? Was there anything they did that left an impact on you?
"Probably one thing I took out of it was that he had had his own business and staff working for him and he was the director of the company, but it doesn’t mean that people are necessarily happy doing that and he was happier to go back at the time to the roots and spend the time operating machines because that’s what he was so passionate about. I firstly thought ‘Jeez wouldn't he just get bored operating machines again?’, but that wasn’t the case at all. What I took from that is that some people will take a role over title and money and everything else, it doesn’t matter to some people, they just prefer to do what they absolutely love and that was certainly the case with Don."
Where are they now? Have you had contact or followed their progress since?
"He’s still with the same company and still operating the machines in a foreman/hands on sort of capacity. He regularly enters digger competitions to share skills with the community and keep the industry strong. He’s just a down to earth bloke, that’s been pretty instrumental in all of Auckland’s construction; he’s worked on some of the main highways and he’s done a lot of residential developments and is always keen to keep giving back to the industry."
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