Taurus Taurima's kaupapa has not changed since he started the firm out of a friend's car five years ago.
The 32-year-old and his concreting business Topline Contracting celebrated a significant milestone in Hastings with about 200 people including Cabinet Minister Nanaia Mahuta attending the opening of a new Omahu Rd yard on Friday.
While Taurima said he has an "ambitious mind" and wants to keep expanding, his mission will always remain the same:
"To be able to take people from Flaxmere pretty much, Māori, get them skilled and take them out of the minimum wage mindset."
Taurima was raised by a solo mother in Flaxmere himself, and left school at 16 not long before his partner gave birth to the first of five kids now aged between 14 and a couple of months old.
He got his first full-time job in roading in 2010 and eventually started Topline in August 2016, aged 27.
"I just wanted to be able to make my own decisions," Taurima said.
"When you run a company you have to be about the people, the people are the ones working for you so you should do your best for them, and they should do their best for you."
Topline takes on employees sent to it by the Department of Corrections and the Ministry of Social Development with no judgement and no questions asked.
"We take them for who they are, I don't look into the past," Taurima said.
"I think as a community we have to take them for it to be a better place."
A career pathway is compulsory for the workers at Topline, with Taurima making sure people are getting all the driver licences and qualifications they can.
He said he is taking them from being unemployable to sought after.
"Watching them be not at the bottom of the workforce all the time is a good feeling, that's what does it for me," Taurima said.
"My measure of success is watching a man have nothing, and then have everything he can in this industry."
Topline general manager Carl Webber said it works because Taurima has been in their shoes.
"He walks with them side by side, and teaches them how to do hard work," Webber said.
Taurima said heaps of employees don't make it though, and every person from a difficult background that he takes on is a risk.
"Some of them are here on their fourth shot, so if they don't make it I get rid of them [and say] come back when you're ready," he said.
That's not disheartening for Taurima though – he was satisfied after changing just one person's life almost half a decade ago.
Webber met his now boss at another civil construction company they both worked for and eventually became general manager of Topline after being a casual sounding board for Taurima.
"I just love it here," Webber said, the emotion clear in his voice.
"For a man who's 32, he doesn't understand how good of a leader he is."
Webber said the love and care Taurima has for his people always shows through whether it's personally driving his employees to their courses at EIT and making sure they get fed, or chipping in and getting his hands dirty on a job to make sure it gets done.
"He's making a difference for people, he's helping people, but he doesn't want anything for himself," Webber said.
"The biggest thing he wants is for his kids to be looked after and have a different life than him."
Taurima said the name Topline Contracting came from his little brother, beating out his own idea – Pinnacle.
"Something that just reached for the top, so our people are not always at the bottom," he said.