It’s been four years since our last editorial on Queensland-based civil construction company Cooper Civil and many things have changed since 2019. Rhys Cooper, director of Cooper Civil, fills us in on what the last few years have meant for him, his company, and the industry they work in.
Since its 2015 inception, Cooper Civil has gone through some significant changes in the last year, with general manager, Josh Mudge, moving on and chasing his dreams in Copenhagen, Denmark. This has been a bittersweet loss for Rhys, fondly recalling, “Josh always did a killer job both at the keyboard and on the tools”, however Rhys has risen to the challenges the departure brought, saying “With my best mate and business partner moving overseas last year, I’m running the show by myself. It’s scary yet exciting – but I love a challenge!”
Like many other companies worldwide, Cooper Civil has experienced a shortage in skilled and experienced operators, particularly skilled final trim operators in South East Queensland. Rhys currently operates with just himself and three other experienced operators on his machines – a manageable number which enables Rhys to maintain his company’s dependability in providing consistent high quality work.
The challenge of achieving more with less is what Rhys has set for himself. Now primarily working in SEQ, having previously worked throughout Northern NSW and as far south as Melbourne, Cooper Civil maintains a modern fleet of GPS-equipped 14-25 tonne CAT excavators, a positive safety culture and a flexible approach to work methods and client requirements. They’ve successfully secured a solid reputation in large highway infrastructure jobs due to their expertise, the finest gear, and experienced operators. “We’re never skimping on quality,” highlights Rhys.
Currently working on the $1 billion Section D of the Bruce Highway – a new 26km, 4-lane divided highway between the existing Bruce Highway interchange at Woondum, south of Gympie and Curra – Rhys cannot speak highly enough of the advantages of the NOX Tiltrotator which he acquired from Doherty Couplers and Attachments at the end of last year. “This thing has been amazing. It’s so much faster and versatile so we can complete jobs cleaner and quicker than our competitors,” he says. “And on the Gympie Bypass job, the pincers on the rear of the unit allow me to work without labourers, reducing plant/person interaction, and creating a safer work space. He adds, “having the extra dexterity of the hitch increases our production.”
Doherty’s attachments have long been part of Rhys’ setup due to the smooth controllability of their quick hitches and how natural they feel on the machine. Rhys goes on to praise the NOX Tiltrotator, “I’ve cleaned up whole areas, removing all rubbish and obstacles from the comfort of my cab. The controls really are intuitive and are exactly where you would want them.”
The rapid advancement in technology has been significant in civil construction over the last few years, and as early adopters, Cooper Civil have established themselves as a reputable company who consistently keep themselves up to date with the latest. Their Trimble Earthworks GPS units co-exist seamlessly with not only the NOX Tiltrotator, but also the Doherty DH Tilt hitches which fast became the preferred attachment for Rhys and his team.
Rhys has plenty of peers in awe of his setup, saying those that have used his Doherty NOX Tiltrotator have said “hands down they are putting one on their next machines.” He knows that feeling well, “I love Doherty’s gear, I wish I had run it on my fleet from the get go.”