Meet Western Sydney’s real movers and shakers
Nicole Maroun, CEO of Earthworx explains how her family’s business became one of the rising stars of Sydney’s construction boom.
Sixteen years ago Nicole Maroun knew all but nothing about earthmoving.
Today, in partnership with her three brothers Anthony, Charbel and George, she is at the helm of a family business seen as one of Australia’s leading providers of site preparation and early works services for the construction and infrastructure sectors.
The business handles site clearing, demolition, remediation, excavation, piling and shoring projects, and counts Meriton Group’s construction industry legend Harry Triguboff among its list of trusted clients and mentors.
The success of Earthworx, which now has more than 60 earthmoving machines and a fleet of 40 trucks operating out of its bases in Macquarie Park and Glendenning, has aligned with the impressive growth of Western Sydney, which sits just behind the Sydney CBD and Melbourne as the nation’s third-largest economic region.
Nicole, who quit a career in telecommunications to help start Earthworx, says her father and brothers were working in building and construction jobs and had identified a gap in the market for smaller-scale earthmoving jobs. “We noticed that demand was growing and, of the few players in the field, people were after a company that was reliable, affordable and experienced,” she says.
On the back of a personable approach and solid family ethics, Earthworx started small in 2006 and transitioned from family jobs to corporate projects.
The business now caters for large and small early works projects and its clean, scratch-free trucks symbolise an attention to detail that really resonates with clients. As chief operating officer, Nicole has never regretted the career switch.
“I have always been the type to take chances and explore new opportunities and, although I knew nothing about trucks, excavators and even types of soil, I was willing to learn.”
Earthworx started with a team of eight, including Nicole and her brothers. Nicole’s sisters are now also on board, while two nephews are also in the business. With 100 staff in total, who manage about 20 large projects at any given time, their early-works specialisation sets the foundations for construction and infrastructure projects.
Nicole says Earthworx has a reputation for delivering on time, every time. “We understand time is money, so we treat every project as an opportunity to find efficiencies and deliver value to our clients.”
For all of its technical expertise, she attributes much of Earthworx’ accomplishments to one key ‘soft’ strength – integrity. “We are built on values of trust and honesty and aim to uphold these in all of our relationships – starting internally with our team and down to the very core with every stakeholder.”
All staff are encouraged to treat the business as if it is theirs.
One of Earthworx’ big breaks has been its enduring relationship with Triguboff, who drove on to an Earthworx job site in 2007 and struck up a rapport with Anthony.
“That day was the start of a fruitful journey, and one in which we not only became business partners, but friends,” she says. “Mr Triguboff took a chance on us and now, many years later, we continue to be the earthmoving provider of choice on most Meriton Group projects.”
Since Earthworx fired up its first piece of machinery 16 years ago, Westpac has been by its side as a financial partner, providing equipment financing for trucks and earthmoving machinery.
“That gives Nicole and her team reassurance that when they need to either buy new fleet or replace their current fleet that they can do it,” says Donna van Asperen, Relationship Director, Commercial Banking at Westpac. “It’s an easy process for them.”
Westpac financed the business’s first excavator, which is still running to this day. The bank has also assisted with the regular purchase of trucks, including a ‘float truck’ used to transport heavy earthmoving machinery.
Throughout the relationship, the focus has been on building trust with Nicole and her family, Donna says, “and being at the table with them when they’re making key strategic decisions” on operations and growth.
During COVID-19, despite supply-chain disruptions hampering many businesses, Earthworx continued to have access to finance at short notice to make truck and machinery purchases.
Donna pinpoints three factors for Earthworx’ success. First, the family values of the business have fostered close connections between leaders, employees and customers. Second, a passion for their industry has helped management build networks and a formidable reputation. And third, a decision to engage a tier-one accounting firm has given the business a financial and strategic edge.
For her part, Nicole calls out the bank’s support and expert guidance as invaluable. “We couldn’t have done it without Westpac. You’re not just a number with them. They’ve supported us all along our journey.”
Earthworx is one of an increasing number of success stories in thriving Western Sydney, where the development of Sydney’s second major airport at Badgerys Creek is planned, along with an economic hub.
Donna says Westpac’s commercial banking centre is proud to be an ongoing contributor to the growth of the area where it’s been operating since 1901.
“From Parramatta to Rouse Hill and out to Badgerys Creek, there’s so much infrastructure development happening and jobs being created,” she says. “Our customers are expanding and growing, and we’re open for business.”
Earthworx’ plans for future sustainable growth include ambitions to branch into civil and government infrastructure projects. The business has social and environmental responsibility in its sights, minimising its carbon footprint and encouraging waste reduction, recycling and investment in the newest and greenest machinery.
It’s also eyeing off expansion into new markets. Nicole says she’s excited about Earthworx’ growth plans and, one day, handing control of the business to the next generation of the family.
“The sky’s the limit! We want to continue to thrive, diversify and add value to not only projects that shape NSW’s property landscape, but Australia’s.”
Nicole Maroun’s advice for businesses seeking growth: