While debate rages nationally about where Australia’s next generation of submarines should be built, a Bowhill company is bringing its well-honed engineering skills to bear on two vessels that play a key role in connecting people along the River Murray.
Bowhill Engineering has been awarded a contract by the State Government to build steel hulls for two ferries, the first stage of a project worth more than $6 million to replace two ageing, timber-hulled craft.
Bowhill Engineering Managing Director Jeremy Hawkes said he was very excited to have won the contract against four competitors from around Australia.
“It’s fantastic we can build something local for locals and it will keep our small community thriving with some long-term work,” Hawkes said.
“It’s important to our region and we see it as a win for the whole community, not just Bowhill Engineering,” he said.
“It’s the single biggest contract we’ve won and will probably engage about 40 per cent of our work force. We can handle the contract with our existing workforce but this good, secure, base-load work allows us to confidently move forward.”
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said the Government was “happy to see manufacturing taking place in South Australia, as well as seeing long-serving local businesses such as Bowhill Engineering kicking goals”.
“Ferries play an important role in the day-to-day lives of river communities and this investment means the ferry service will be more reliable as the steel-hulled ferries require less maintenance,” he said.
The first of the new steel-hulled, 22-metre ferries is expected to be in operation by December 2015 and the second in April 2016.
Bowhill Engineering has enjoyed considerable success in recent years with a diverse range of major projects including major sign gantries and bridge infrastructure for the Southern Expressway, a 50 metre pedestrian overpass for the Wayville train station, the steel frame used to transport the clipper, City of Adelaide, from Scotland, and a variety of mining sector projects.
The company won the Telstra SA Regional Business Award last year.
Jeremy Hawkes was an early graduate from the South Australian Young Entrepreneur Scheme (SAYES) managed by Business SA. The 12 month program provides mentoring to young entrepreneurs aged between 18-35 years to develop the skills and confidence to implement their business ideas. Participants receive advice in strategic management, finance, marketing, taxation, law, employee relations, leadership and media.
“SAYES was great, it gave me a new perspective on where I was going. I needed to grow but I was a bit isolated in a country business. SAYES was the catalyst for me to get out, meet a very good mentor and associate more with business people,” Hawkes said.
“I can confidently say that SAYES changed my life,” he said.
Young entrepreneurs can tap the skills, experience and mentoring available by contacting Business SA SAYES team on email@example.com or by calling (08) 8300 0000.
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