MAJOR WIN: Scott Harrington, owner of Xtreme Engineering who won the Wayne Peachey Memorial Award at the Gladstone Engineering Alliance Major Industry Conference.
MAJOR WIN: Scott Harrington, owner of Xtreme Engineering who won the Wayne Peachey Memorial Award at the Gladstone Engineering Alliance Major Industry Conference. Allen Winter

Surprised Scott takes humble win at engineering conference

SCOTT Harrington said it was a massive surprise when he won the Wayne Peachey Memorial Award at last week's Gladstone Engineering Alliance Major Industry Conference.

"We went along to the gala dinner on Thursday night, knowing that I had been nominated; but the last thing I expected was to have my name called out," he said.

So little preparation had he done, he had no idea what to say when he gave his acceptance speech.

"It took me by surprise. I stood up, and as I walked to the stage my mind was pretty much blank. When I got there, it was just whatever came out of my mouth had to be right.

"I'm not one to speak to a crowd. I'm OK with my staff and just one or two, but get me in front of a crowd and it's quite different."

He did present a speech, though, and from all accounts it was a good one.

"I know that I would not have received this award if it wasn't for the great people we have working with us," he said.

"There's no way I could do it on my own. The people we have working here know what's expected and they deliver. I guess it's to do with my attitude, which is that I like to treat people with decency and if I do that they will treat me the same. We have a lot of great people working here. I accepted the award on behalf of the team.

"I know we strive to look after our valuable customers with decency, and they respect that."

Mr Harrington said he found it a privilege to have won the award. "I have worked for, or with, both of Wayne's sons, Nathan and Kelvin, over the years, so it's pretty special to me."

Mr Harrington started Xtreme Engineering eight years ago, "there was just me and two diesel welders. We now have about 80 staff, and that will reduce back to between 50 and 70 when the work at Curtis Island stops.

He said he was very fortunate when starting up his business that he had some good contacts and received work from businesses such as Walz, ECR (now ALE), the Fodico Marine Group and the Gladstone Ports Corporation.

"They gave me a great start, and they are all still valued customers of ours."

He said one of the main concerns he has about industry at present is the lack of desire by many companies to take on apprentices.

"Apprentices are the future of industry in Australia. If we don't employ new apprentices all the time we stand to have a major

problem further down the track.

"I believe the two to four apprentices I take on each year are certainly money well spent - and the majority of them have stayed on and still work for us."

Despite the current slowdown, Mr Harrington said business would survive on being cost efficient, be able to produce a quick turnaround and high quality work.