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Feature Article

Foundation for success

Brothers-in-law Jeremy Beckford and Pete Edwards founded Wellington Earthworks and Drainage (WEAD) in 2012, working “hell for leather” with a single tip truck and digger.  Six years on, a new FUSO 6x4 HD FV2547 tipper is the latest addition to a diverse fleet backed by a dedicated team of 18 staff.

Jeremy and Pete had both worked in the industry, and with each other, prior to starting the company; when Pete married Jeremy’s sister Sonya, it cemented the guys’ own partnership into the bargain.

“We did pretty well,” says Jeremy, looking back at the early days of the business. “Within a year, we’d hired a handful of additional staff and we’ve just grown from there.

“We do a bit of everything, from trenching and civil construction projects through to landscaping and building driveways.”

Notable projects include the upgrade of both electrical and communication networks across the entire length of the runway at Wellington International Airport;  and laying cable as part of the government’s ultra-fast broadband rollout.  The company’s truck fleet numbers 22, alongside a range of diggers and other plant.

As with most successful businesses, WEAD’s continued growth is more than simply organic. Investment in quality gear and quality processes has helped ensure ongoing sustainability.

“Part of the reason for buying new trucks and plant is that we get longer, more trouble-free service from them,” says Jeremy. “We take a similar approach to our staff, hiring good people and investing in their training in order to build a solid, consistent team.”

The new FV2547 tipper is 7 months into its WEAD career, well and truly pulling its weight on a 44T sticker with a trailer in tow.

To maximise payload – up to 11.5T in total (plus 16.5T in the trailer) – the unit is fitted with super singles and has had its factory steel wheels replaced with aluminiums.

“Those alterations increased the truck’s payload by 10%, and allows us to tow a lot more,” says Jeremy. “That’s significant, because we often work big projects that require large amounts of earth and other bulk materials.”

Fitted with a 346kW / 2227Nm engine, the HD has “plenty in the tank”, according to driver Nigel ‘Rowdy’ Ross – even going up Wainui Hill, which climbs 189m vertically with a gradient of 16.3% at its steepest point.

“It pulls the trailer really well; I’d say it’s perfect for what we do. The AMT transmission also makes for a nice ride and the cab is nice and roomy – it’s just a beautiful truck to drive!”

So far, the HD has racked up 16,500km working locally from the company’s Lower Hutt yard.

“We don’t go too far afield,” says Jeremy. “We’ve done a few jobs in the Wairarapa and Kapiti, as well in Wellington itself. That’s as far as we go.”

Pete, who manages the procurement side of the business, says that in addition to the truck’s performance features, having access to a local sales and service network was a key factor in his decision to go with FUSO.

“I’ve always been a fan of FUSO,” says Pete. “Salesman Daniel Beavis from First Commercials Ltd was great to deal with; he’s a genuine guy, who does what he says.

 “We’ve also built a good relationship with the service team at Diesel Equipment Services Ltd over the years; it’s comforting to know they’re behind us should we need them.”

With a solid business structure at its core and reliable support networks from the likes of FUSO, Wellington Earthworks and Drainage has the foundations for success firmly in place.

While further growth is off the table for now, continuing to replace the older trucks in their fleet is an ongoing priority and both Jeremy and Pete agree that FUSO is the way forward. 

HD FV2547

Tare weight: 7.5T

Power/torque: 346kW/2227Nm

Transmission: 12 speed AMT

Service intervals: 30,000km

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