Growing through road investments

Thomas Pisimi took a risk when he left his steady job at the Department of Transport to start his own civil construction company, R & Sons, in 2002.

“I started from one container. I had one receptionist and a small number of workmen plus some equipment,” Managing Director Thomas Pisimi recalls.

“I did almost everything myself: the accounting, the buying of parts. I was a one-man show.”

Pisimi focused his business on providing good quality work with good accounting and management and was awarded two PNG-Australia Partnership road improvement contracts for 186km of the Coastal Highway between Madang and Bogia districts.

This enabled Pisimi to grow the business, which now employs about 200 people, including seven engineers, three training engineers and a large administrative team. Pisimi says he is increasingly seeing women interested in jobs that are traditionally male dominated.

“We have two women engineers - one is a project engineer and one is a training engineer,” Pisimi said.

“We also recruit women to work in administration. I’ve always emphasised to my project managers to give chances to women in this industry.”

As the business grew, it created opportunities for graduates, who Pisimi hires as training engineers cutting their teeth on job sites for six to 12 months.

He credits his success to many years of hard work. “My advice is to not give up.”

R & Sons has continued working through the COVID-19 pandemic with 85 percent of the project now complete.

From January to June 2020, the PNG-Australia Partnership awarded 50 road improvement contracts to 36 PNG-owned construction companies.

The PNG-Australia Partnership has contributed to growing of the road construction industry in PNG since 2008.

The Partnership supports the maintenance of approximately 1,380 kilometres of national priority roads across 10 provinces.

The PNG-Australia Partnership is now working with the Department of Works (DoW) to develop a ‘Road Construction Industry Capacity Development Policy’ to further develop local business.

The policy will assist local contractors to bid for and successfully fulfil major road contracts as the government implements its Connect PNG infrastructure development program.

(R & Sons: Workmen sweeping the road in preparation of bitumen sealing on recently completed repairs)

Press release