Russell Roads – Driving ahead into the next 50 years

With 50 years on the clock, Hawke’s Bay’s most established local civil construction business Russell Roads is driving forward to being much more than building roads and pavements.

Russell Roads was started by Chris and Ken Russell in 1973 as a small local civil construction business and over the last 50 years it has helped shape roads, walkways, residential and industrial developments across Hawke’s Bay.

The Hastings based business has been on a fast track of growth in recent years, with Robbie and Michelle Gale becoming part owners in 2015 and then taking full ownership in 2019. The step change included amalgamating their business CPM Concrete with Russell Roads with the ambition of becoming a significant player in the civil construction sector.

In 2022 Robbie lured Gavin O’Connor from global leader Stantec to add further professionalism to the operation. Gavin was Stantec’s regional director of national transportation, a role that required significant travel outside of the region. With a young family, Gavin was looking for a new challenge locally. “I’ve been looking for a new opportunity and although I’ve been within large national and multi-national corporates, Russell Roads posed a really exciting opportunity with growth potential for not only myself but all our staff.”

What many don’t know is that Russell Roads is more than just roads and pavements… The business also has an asphalt plant in Omahu Road, two river-based quarries in Stockade Road in Central Hawke’s Bay and Maraekakaho in Hastings along with a newly consented land based quarry at Mohaka Coach Road, north of Napier. Gavin believes that the businesses growth will come as a materials supplier over the next five years. Expansion plans are well underway including a move to a purpose built facility within the next 18 months as well as repositioning the business to align with its service offerings.

“We do more than build roads, we cover the entire supply chain. From rivers to roads is an easy way to explain it. We supply materials for the civil contracting sector, we do 3 waters infrastructure, and we do road and pavement construction. Russell Road’s uses about 10 percent of aggregate materials from the quarries for its own projects, supplying 90 percent to other contractor businesses including a long-term supply contract with Bridgeman Concrete as well as national civil contractor big guns in Fulton Hogan and Downers.

“We expect that the aggregates business will be bigger than the roading business within the next 12 months or so. If you look at our Mohaka quarry, this is a 32 hectare site, which is about 5-10 years of supply into the market. “In Central HB we can extract 150,000 tonne of metal, which is a significant amount and with the recent cyclone damage, we expect a lot of demand.”

Gavin says he was attracted to the family-owned business because of the Gale’s desire to give back to the community as well as provide greater career pathways for their staff, along with profit-share incentives.


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First published by The Profit. Click here to read the full article.