Ex-EQC official has no regrets

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 09:54 08/07/2014
Bruce Emson
Kirk Hargreaves
BRUCE EMSON: Former EQC official.

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A former high-profile Earthquake Commission (EQC) official has ambitions to help a Christchurch construction company grow.

Corbel Construction yesterday announced that it had hired Bruce Emson, EQC's former customer services general manager, to lead a new division in the company targeting construction work in the public sector.

The newly created role lined up with the company's ambitions to grow its public sector work nationwide and to become a $100 million construction company within the next five years.

Emson said he was happy to be back in the private sector.

"My three years with the EQC was my public service and I think that's enough for me."

He said he had taken a significant pay cut from EQC to Corbel. This followed another pay cut when he shifted from Infratil to EQC.

"It is not about money. This is about a contribution to a small company that is looking to grow that continues to contribute to the recovery. It is a challenge that I find intriguing."

Emson has a strong attachment to the region.

"I'm not going anywhere... My family's here, my grandchildren are here, we're very happy in Canterbury, Christchurch is home."

He had no regrets about his stint with EQC.

"It was a very difficult job, but I am very proud of what I did there."

Emson said he had a solid track record in dealing with the public sector in previous positions as chief executive of NZ Bus and general manager of logistics with Shell International.

He also brought relationships with government and the private sector to the table at Corbel.

Corbel managing director Craig Jones said Emson would help Corbel get more contracts with the education and health sectors. Other public sector opportunities were the Lyttelton Port Company, the university and local authorities including the Christchurch City Council.

"The rebuild is an opportunity to work with the Government on the longer term and we needed someone to take care of that."

Corbel's biggest project in the public sector is the $5m contract to build the new Child Haematology Oncology Centre at Christchurch Hospital, which will be completed later this year.

Jones said the company had no plans to partner with other companies to grow faster.

"We have enough confidence in our ability to go on as a stand alone main contractor."

The company did not plan to hire new staff this year because they hired a lot last year.

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Established in 2000, Christchurch-based Corbel Construction employs over 80 fulltime permanent staff across three divisions: commercial construction, residential building and interiors fit-out.

It is owned and operated by its founders Craig Jones and Mark Wells.

The company has grown significantly, averaging 25 per cent growth per annum over the past six years, with targeted annual revenue of $40m for this financial year.

BRUCE EMSON

1976 - 2008 Worked for Shell International at management level.

2008- 2011 Chief Executive of Infratil subsidiary and public transport operator NZ Bus.

2011-2014 EQC's customer services general manager.

- The Press

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