February 24th heralds the start of a big 12 months for Pensar as we count down to our 20-year anniversary celebrations.
Reflecting on the first 19 years in business, Founder and Managing Director Karl Yunker said Pensar had grown from basically himself and then a part-time bookkeeper to an organisation approaching 200 people and a much larger indirect employment base.
Karl established Pensar in 2000 after a career in infrastructure, mining and property with some of Australia’s largest construction companies, such as the former Leightons Contractors.
“I was privileged to learn from inspiring leaders and from businesses driven by a commitment to quality, honesty and reliability,” he said. “But I was also keen to try something challenging on my own and to create a culture that reflected my own style and beliefs.”
Not surprisingly, of the many hundreds of projects Pensar has been involved in since the start, it is the more challenging work that comes quickly to mind for Karl.
From the landmark Sinnathamby Boulevard and Augusta Parkway at Springfield, to complex projects at Brisbane Airport and RAAF Base Amberley, and the logistics of transporting 40,000 tonnes of material to Macleay Island for ferry terminal work, Pensar is well-known for taking on challenging projects.
“We continue to deliver projects like this today, such as the Molendinar Water Treatment Plant Upgrade, which is a multi-disciplinary project drawing on our power, water and structures capabilities,” Karl said.
“I think this is the Pensar difference. Our customers always get what we promise with no surprises along the way,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we never have to give bad news, but we would always do it upfront, work hard to find a solution and then deliver it safely.”
“It is this professionalism, technical capability and emphasis on safety that have ensured our success, giving Pensar our reputation as a safe pair of hands on complicated projects.”
Safety, health and wellbeing mean everything to Karl and have become hallmarks of the Pensar business that extends far beyond compliance.
“We have stopped and thought about what would happen down the track to a person seriously injured at work. How would it impact on their future and their extended family and friends?” he said.
“Family and friends want to keep the version of you they have now. And with our support around health, wellbeing, fitness and nutrition, maybe there’s also an opportunity to send home an even better version of their loved ones. That’s certainly my own personal goal and the legacy I would be most proud of.”
Asked what advice he would give to his 20-year younger self, Karl stressed the importance of avoiding complacency in all its forms.
“Economic cycles are a fact of life so we can never afford to become complacent,” he said. “That means showing up every day with your best game, not getting side-tracked and investing in people, quality and systems in the good times so you’re better prepared for the tough times.”
Pensar’s recent focus on broadening both its technical capabilities and shareholder base strongly reflects this strategy of resilience and is set to continue in earnest.
“There is so much more we still want to do in terms of broadening our technical capabilities, geographic reach and the industries we operate in, all driven by our team’s motivation for new challenges,” Karl said.
This desire for a challenge is endemic to the culture at Pensar but looking forward, it is the Pensar team itself and the opportunity to keep working with his mates that Karl is most excited about.
“I recently asked everyone why they came to work, thinking the top answer would be the chance to build really cool projects!” he said.
“But the most common reason was because of the people they work with and the characters that make it lots of fun. The next reason was about collaboration – working together on something no one could ever do on their own. And then it was about the things we build, creating great new infrastructure that is really valued by the community.”