Alliance Environmental Engineering
Founders: Andrew Johnston, 37
Head Office: Victoria
Industry: Property and business services
Managing a difficult staff member is never easy. But when that staff member has been recommended by a key client, and employed specifically to work with that client, then the process becomes that much more delicate.
Such was the challenge facing Andrew Johnston, founder of environmental engineering firm Alliance Environmental Engineering.
“We were left in a very difficult position of not being able to let this employee go without severely and negatively impacting our relationship with our main source of income,” Johnston says.
Over a long period, and with some careful negotiations, Johnson managed both the staff member and the client. It hammered home a key message – in a small business, getting the first, second, third, fourth, fifth… well, every staff member… exactly right.
Johnston founded Alliance with the goal of telling clients as it is – no technical jargon and no recommendations specifically designed to get the engineering firm more work.
The ethos is resonating with clients. Revenue hit $3.8 million in 2011-12 and the business has posted average annual revenue growth of 87.99% over the past three years.
But it’s not just clients taking notice. Johnston says the business is currently the target of an acquisition by a multi-national engineering firm.
“If we go that direction, it would mean further penetration nationally – we currently work in all states, but we would anticipate this work growing considerably – as well as internationally.”
“Whether we move forward with the multi-national or not, I would see us continuing to grow our petro-chemical business, I also see us moving further into acquisitions and moving into the agribusiness space.”
“Whichever direction we go, my main goals are to ensure we maintain sustainable growth and are able to continue to deliver on providing strategic, practical and cost-effective solutions that focus on the protection of our environment.”
Johnston says his industry is being boosted by two factors. Firstly, tighter environmental legislation means businesses do need to bring in firms like Alliance. But secondly, Johnston sees a change in the way business approach environmental matters.
“People are becoming more aware and more proactive in the way that they and their businesses manage and interact with the environment.”