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The Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Awards are a way for us to celebrate our contractors’ and consultants’ successes. It also exhibits outstanding examples of our diverse range of activities on our state highways. These annual awards acknowledge our suppliers’ commitment to our priorities and quality industry standards.

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GEM winners 2016

We would like to congratulate all the winners at this year’s awards and thank everyone involved in making the GEM awards grow exponentially from year to year.  

Customer Care 

Memorial Park Alliance – Free dedicated bus service for tunnel walkers and cyclists - Mt Victoria Tunnel upgrade stage 2

Russell Obee and Ed Breese from Memorial Park Alliance

This entry certainly exhibited going the extra mile for customers. It showed empathy, and was a great example of thinking with the head and heart – it was about doing the simple things, and doing it well.

It was also about what was best for the customer and the long-term relationship with the customer through continuous improvement in the quality of the service. Most people have memories of grumpy bus drivers!  This entry was a great example of how doesn’t take a lot of money to do something great.

Customer Champion

Higgins Contractors Ltd - How one man can make a difference

From left to right: Jonathon Doggett of Higgin Contractors, Cameron Strongman and Karl Hitchcock from Traffic Safe NZ

This entry showed you don’t have to have a lot of technology and innovation to be a customer champion - it’s about doing things simple and well. It showed great community engagement and brought a warm human element to the work we do for customers. Over 3,400 likes, 905 shares and over 300 comments on a Facebook post specifically thanking Cameron for his great attitude towards customers can’t be wrong!

Connecting with the community

Well-Connected Alliance - The Waterview Connection - Collaborative design success: delivering on the spirit of consultation, and comprehensive engagement with stakeholders to achieve great community outcomes

From left to right: Lesley Hopkins, Alasdair Rigby, Ray Chang from Well-Connected Alliance

This entry was of a very high standard – it stood out to the judges as the best possible example of our aspirations for future community engagement through the Alliance’s co-design approach with the community.

The team put the needs of the community at the heart of the design process right from the beginning, and recognised and worked with the community on what was important. Valuable expertise within the community was recognised and ways found to enhance this expertise for the benefit of all. The entry exhibited multiple examples of community engagement with genuine follow up.


Fulton Hogan - Litter Master 9000 (Version 2)

Phil McKie from Fulton Hogan

This entry proved it’s not necessarily the outcome, but the process when it comes to continuous improvement. The initiative was driven by a clear problem (excessive road-side litter, lots of staff hours and the health and safety risk of manually collecting litter on the roadside (slips, trips and falls), supported by the Fulton Hogan ‘blue skies’ approach to innovation. 

The entry demonstrated quick prototyping with the ability to test and improve; hence version 2 in the title. They also worked with community to reduce the need for the service in the first place, and liaised with schools and did advertising campaigns. This winner showed an initiative doesn’t have to be big to be innovative!

Keeping Customers Moving

McConnell Dowell Downer joint venture - Alternative traffic management scheme for Memorial Avenue roundabout, Russley Road upgrade, Christchurch

Aidan Brannon and Steve Ricketts of McConnell Dowell Downer joint venture

This entry showed good evidence of strong stakeholder strategy and planning – particularly at the customer level. The solution was better than the prior traffic layout.

Due to the nature of the intersection and stakeholders using it, they had to work with many varied organisations, from churches through to a helicopter company. One of the big challenges was the proximity to the airport, large traffic volumes, and high volumes of potentially stressed people trying to reach the airport.

Protecting the Environment

Northland NOC - Fulton Hogan, Opus, Te Roroa Environs - Environmental protection redefined in the Waipoua Forest Sanctuary

From left to right: Kaylee Wilson of Opus/Fulton Hogan, Natasha Birch and Paul Rudsen of Te Roroa

This entry was an excellent example of a proactive and collaborative approach to roadside vegetation management in the ecologically sensitive habitat of Waipoua Forest in Northland, in particular focussing on preventing the spread of kauri dieback disease.

The contractor has systemically embedded best practice environmental management to be an integral part of roadside maintenance activities, with a top-down (management plan) and bottom-up approach (standard operating procedures and induction training). A local initiative supported a national approach to management of kauri dieback disease through GIS mapping and laboratory analysis of diseased trees.

Safety in Design

Opus International Consultants & Jacobs-Opus Design joint venture - Realising the opportunity

Ben Weir of Opus International Consultants and Andrew Bell of Jacobs

This entry met all three criteria of this category really well. They had great systems and adopted these throughout the project lifecycle, and gained commitment from the project community including future maintenance managers and client representatives. It exhibited Safety in Design principles over the lifestyle of the project, and conversations were driven in a consistent way which some good innovations as a result.

Opus showed great management and systems for Safety in Design, with the Safety in Design policy being a great example of this. The Construction Hazard Assessment Implication Review (or CHAIR) tool drove good discussion and action on Safety in Design issues throughout the project. 

The joint venture showed great value add through designing out risk through the whole lifecycle of the assets, and sharing lessons learned to a broad audience across industry.

Teaming Up

Well-Connected Alliance - WATERVIEW’S LESSON IN THE 3 Rs: responsive, resourceful, ready

Presenter of the award, Dr David Warburton from Auckland Transport with Ewart Barnsley from Well-Connected Alliance 

This entry was a great example of teaming up with organisations that traditionally would not be involved with roading projects. This was through a range of initiatives such as site visit and a problem-solving challenge based on the construction of the Waterview tunnels.

The outcome was igniting a fire in young people towards engineer-related careers, and building sustainability within our own sector by encouraging engineering as a profession.

Zero Harm

HEB/Opus joint venture - Marlborough Roads Network Outcomes Contract (NOC 01)

From left to right: Dean Hawkey from Opus International Consultants, Nicky Smith and Tiny van Deventer from HEB Construction

This entry really stood out for the judges as it was exactly what they were looking for – a great example of engagement with people to get them involved and manage their own risk. In the words of the judges, ‘the joint venture absolutely cracked the culture code, directly involving their workers in the decision-making process and allowing them to own the way they want to work’. 

What started as a conversation about Personal Protective Equipment transformed into a journey where involving people in understanding and managing their own risks has directly improved safety, employee engagement and efficiencies.

The people who deliver our work have been provided with the knowledge, tools and empowerment to keep themselves and each other safe, are part of the decision making processes that affect their safety and, because of that, understand why and what they are doing. All this has been led by the operational people from the joint venture, with no full time Zero harm resource.

Supreme winner

Well-Connected Alliance - The Waterview Connection - Collaborative design success: delivering on the spirit of consultation, and comprehensive engagement with stakeholders to achieve great community outcomes

From left to right: Lesley Hopkins, Alasdair Rigby and Ray Chang from Well-Connected Alliance

Gem 2016 photos

For all the photos from the awards please visit our Flickr page(external link)

Previous GEM Awards winners

2015 GEM Awards winners

2014 GEM Awards winners

2012 GEM Awards winners

2011 GEM Awards winners

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