Keeping heavy equipment in peak condition is the Mader Group promise to miners around the world
It’s been nearly 15 years since Luke Mader single-handedly started a mobile mechanic business out of the back of his ute in the Kimberley. This year, the company he founded was named Mining Contractor of the Year at the AMM Future of Mining Awards in Sydney.
Today, Mader Group reaches beyond the Outback to the rest of Australia, as well as to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the USA. “I kicked off my career as a heavy-duty diesel mechanic for WesTrac (a Caterpillar dealer) and then later transitioned to marketing Caterpillar in the owner miner division,” Mader told VENTURE. “Whilst working there, I identified an underserved niche in the market and decided to start my own business focussing solely on delivering high quality and rapid responding heavy equipment maintenance.”
Mader quickly grew a great reputation in Western Australia, and soon expanded into other regions, including WA’s Pilbara. “I’ve always been big on delivering top service, so I recruited some former co-workers who I trusted and respected — both as good mates and experts in the field. Most of this team are still with me today and have overseen the business through all stages of growth. With a solid team behind me, it wasn’t long before we expanded, both domestically and globally,” he explained.
Mader Group boasts a team of over 1,000 highly skilled workers throughout major mining regions on five continents. “Having access to a large global pool of employees makes it relatively easy to meet customer demands quickly, no matter where they are in the world.
“We ensure that our staff are always job ready with up to date qualifications, police clearances, site inductions, medicals, and insurance, and we make sure that we know which employees are open to fresh opportunities. Many of our employees embrace the chance to work in a fast-paced environment with the opportunity for domestic and global transfers. We are building a transparent workplace that offers flexibility, options, and opportunity, with the goal that Mader Group will become a robust platform for employees to advance their careers whilst being able to make tracks across the globe.”
And making tracks is a sure bet for this fast-blooming group, whose workforce has more than doubled over the past year to satisfy the needs of an expanding pool of satisfied customers. “Over the past few years we’ve managed to sign and re-sign a number of contracts with major and multinational mining companies and Tier 1 contractors,” Mader revealed.
“Our growth story has been exhilarating, and there have been a few valuable lessons learned. We’ve learned that our capacity to support a broad range of mining and civil companies is large and growing, and in turn we are focussing planning on change as well as continued and sustainable growth. We’ve also learnt that the highly varied work we carry out across a diverse client base, is the common denominator for some of our challenges as well as our successes.
“The jobs we undertake vary substantially by site, machinery, location, local law, and regulation, calling for us to anticipate any challenges by focussing resources on understanding our clients and the regions we operate in. On the other hand, a broad range of work and varied operating environments is what enables us to cultivate highly dynamic employees with an unparalleled level of experience — a level of experience that can only be developed through the continuity of working across diverse environments. This is what gives us the edge for delivering a highly quality and bespoke level of service excellence.”
Not only does Mader Group offer comprehensive training packages for their overseas clients, they have a mission to build sustainable national workforces. “We train and guide local workers to a point where they become self-sufficient and our expertise is no longer needed, growing a sustainable workforce that can replace ourselves in two to three years,” Mader said. This is particularly helpful in developing regions where safety and maintenance standards may not reach those set in highly industrialised nations.
“Every day we witness random and humble acts of mateship and comradery in the workplace,” he continued. “The Mader Group has been built on a foundation of strong friendships, and this clearly echoes through the business today. We encourage mateship, teamwork, and integrity both in everyday operations and through regular team building events. ... Our employees not only have pride in what they do, but you can see that they get the job done working alongside great mates.
“People underestimate the power of surrounding yourself with good mates and positive work environments. Our focus on forming and maintaining good relationships has set us apart from our competitors and has been a key driver for our success. We are proud to have built a platform for employees to progress in their careers whilst working alongside great mates.”