Patience and a long-term view fuel National Group’s Queensland growth.
From humble beginnings in Queensland’s coal sector, National Group has become a leading supplier to some of the world’s largest mining companies in that State.
National Group’s work stretches from the State’s far north at Rio Tinto’s world-class bauxite operations in Weipa, to BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) and Anglo American Australia coal sites across the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland. National Group also provides trucking services for Glencore through National Heavy Haulage.
In addition, National Group has maintenance facilities at Nebo, Emerald, Blackwater and Yatala on the Gold Coast. National Group also has an engine-rebuild and components facility at Toowoomba.
National Group continues to expand in Queensland. Earlier this year, National Group started a new contract for Anglo American Australia on its two expanding open-cut coal mines at its Capcoal operation in the Bowen Basin (Lake Lindsay and Oak Park).
As Business Development Manager for National Group in Queensland, Warren Jensen leads the company’s commercial operations in the State. He joined National Group in 2014 and a year later the company got its first contract with BMA.
This edition of Unstoppable asked Warren about National Group in Queensland, current conditions in the coal sector and a bit about the man himself.
Unstoppable: Warren, what are the main reasons for National Group’s growth in Queensland?
Warren Jensen: Patience and a long-term view. It took a while to get our first big contract in Queensland coal and we have expanded consistently from there. We never chased quick contract wins; our focus was always on building a sustainable, high-quality operation in Queensland. Over the years, we have developed long-term relationships with clients and grown with them. But we take nothing for granted and continue to work hard to deliver results for clients every day.
Unstoppable: What role has maintenance played in the company’s success in Queensland?
Warren Jensen: Maintenance is everything. I’ve often said the business-development team can win contracts, but maintenance can lose them if the work is not up to scratch. I’ve worked in the earth-moving industry a long time and can say National Group has one of the best maintenance teams in the country. But it’s not just about having excellent maintenance skills; it’s also about putting the right maintenance people in the right jobs at the right time. National Group has excelled at hiring good people who fit our culture, work well on mining sites, and know their stuff.
Unstoppable: National Group’s agility is a common theme that comes up in discussions with its employees. How does that flexibility help your work?
Warren Jensen: Being nimble is such an advantage in the equipment-hire industry. We can react quickly when clients need a piece of equipment or if something needs repair on site at short notice. I call Mark (Ackroyd) directly and if it makes sense, Mark gives the OK to do it, then and there. We don’t have to go through layers of approvals or committees or wait for board approvals to get things done. When we make promises to our clients in the field, we know National Group will back them up.
Unstoppable: From your perspective, how are conditions in Queensland coal?
Warren Jensen: Very busy. You read stories about the coal industry being in long-term decline as the world moves towards renewables, but we are not seeing that on the ground. We have lots of work on in Queensland and a healthy pipeline of enquiries. The biggest challenge at the moment is finding enough equipment because Covid affected global manufacturing supply last year. Also, finding enough people due to labour-supply shortages. National Group was well prepared for both these challenges and continues to source the equipment and staff we need.
Unstoppable: National Coal has a positive view on Queensland coal’s long-term prospects. What’s behind that view?
Warren Jensen: Clearly, the world needs to move towards renewables to address climate change. But we’re going to need coal for a long time yet during that transition. Queensland has some of the world’s best coal deposits and outstanding coal companies and expertise. In 30 years, there will still be a strong coal industry in Queensland. Coal will still be around when my grandkids (a long way off!) are looking for a job.
Unstoppable: What do you do to relax away from work?
Warren Jensen: My family is passionate about show jumping at equestrian events. When work permits, we travel around Australia for show-jumping competitions where our kids compete. The kids have done well in the sport and one of them is thinking of taking it up as a professional career in Europe after school. We recently bought a small farm on the north side of Brisbane and have nine horses and some cattle. There’s a good set of stables on the farm and I’m building a show-jumping arena on the farm for the kids to practice on. I rode horses competitively when I was younger but am too old now!
- To contact Warren about how National Group can help your company in Queensland, email him at [email protected], or call him direct on 0498 200 100.