Mr Fix-it getting the job done

19:14, Jul 11 2014
steve mcknight, phil mcallister
BIG PICTURE: Fonterra Clandeboye operations manager Steve McKnight, left, and Phoenix site construction co-ordinator Phil McAllister are pleased with the progress on the mozzarella factory expansion.

After the challenges of working with the poorly trained in Indonesia, construction engineer Phil McAllister is pleased to be site co-ordinating the Clandeboye mozzarella factory expansion.

In his first week here in May, he had 100 contractors to organise, ensuring the timing was perfect for the jobs they had to perform.

He tries to prevent problems or stop them escalating. If three trucks want to unload at the same time then he has to sort out the order and timing without upsetting anyone.

"If there are no phone calls I know I am doing a good job," he said.

If things go wrong it can be a logistical nightmare, as it was at times in Indonesia. He estimated it would take five Indonesians to do one job a Kiwi could do due to low skill levels.

"Their methodology would sometimes see them boxed in a corner. They had constructed too much and could not fit a tank in so had to take a (a newly built) wall down."


Born in Invercargill and gaining his degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Canterbury, McAllister worked in Auckland before heading to Indonesia last year.

Once the nickel-processing smelter project on the island of Sulawesi was complete he was seconded to Fonterra by Beca, the consultancy firm he is employed by.

"The contractors here have been superb. They are good at their work."

McAllister thinks everyone seeing the common goal, and being willing to give and take, had made the project run smoothly. "We're right on schedule."

The Timaru Herald