Beginning as finalists for Employer of the Year and category winners of Excellence in Strategy & Planning, Thomas Civil and Environmental Consultants went on to achieve the ultimate accolade of winner, Supreme Business Excellence, in the hotly contested awards for West Auckland.

Thomas is a multidisciplinary consultancy. "We're involved in civil engineering and environmental engineering, planning, environmental contamination, and environmental science around ecology for local government, Housing New Zealand and private clients," explains Richard Thomas, managing director.

The West business has grown from one person to 65 staff over 16 years and is known for its friendly, efficient service across many facets of property development including lodging consents and getting them over the line. "We're so proud that we can do that in a short turnaround and with no questions back from council. We really love feedback from clients, getting that pat on the back and repeat business," adds operations manager Danielle Hancock.

Unable to attend the gala dinner, Richard Thomas 'joined' his team to receive the awards in a virtual appearance on iPhone. "After 15 years in business we decided it was time for a refresh of our values and attributes as a company," says Richard Thomas. "We had a process of talking to and giving all staff an opportunity to feedback. From there, we moved on to look at our strategic planning. What amazed us of course, and I've seen this before, was to see the planning bringing things together and helping how we work together."

"The great thing with Richard is if you need to get something done you can talk it through," says Danielle Hancock.

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"He encourages us to take leadership, to be innovative and to see where our ideas can go. It's invigorating, and you feel really proud about what you're doing, that you're valued, and that you're doing something that really supports a company. We can see that it's working, because, I've only been here two years, and we've gone from 25 staff to 65 staff in that time."

Business is going according to plan. Having started as a one-man-band, and now with 65 staff Thomas is moving offices to accommodate the changes.

"Sometimes everything goes fast and you've got to run to keep up. But, it's good to have a plan. We're not so locked into it that we can't take advantage of new opportunities and a plan definitely sets a course which we adjust as necessary along the way," concludes Richard.