A Mark of respect

February 27, 2024 | People

Paynter Dixon’s 110-year anniversary is happily joined by personal milestones. Last year Mark Robson celebrated 25 years with the pioneering design and construction company. The Project Manager has delivered over 160 projects across the state – schools, aged care homes, clubs, commercial and more. He looks back on the road so far…

Starting out

I started out as an apprentice carpenter in 1986. After completing my trade, I worked in high rise commercial construction in the city for a Tier 1 builder. Every day was almost the same, building floor by floor. Eventually I came to the realisation that I wanted to work for a business where every day was different and personal progression was possible. I spoke to architects and others who suggested Paynter Dixon.

I did my homework on the company. There was a clear focus on safety, planning and processes, but the appeal of having variety in work as well. Paynter Dixon operates across a variety of sectors, which means I can build a school at the same time as refurbishing a club, and then move onto residential aged care. I got the job and never looked back.

Partnering on site

I met a tiler and renderer on my first job as an apprentice. They were two of the subcontractors on my first company project, involving the construction and fitout of the Zenith Centre at Chatswood. Well, the tiler still lays tiles for us, and the renderer is still rendering walls. They’re still in business 35 years later and so am I and we are still friends.

When we talk about a team, it’s not just about the project manager or the people in our company. It’s about the client, subcontractors, supply chain, authorities and the public.

All these people contribute to the team reaching that goal at the end of the day. Building isn’t an individual sport, it’s a complete team environment.

Little jobs matter

The smaller tasks can be the glue that combines the larger elements of the work. None of those tasks are more important than the other. They all play a part and come together in the mixing pot to create the end product.

Everybody brings something slightly different to the table. One of my roles as a Project Manager is to get the best out of each person, and in doing so, create a common path.

Silver linings

We have our shared values – supportive, creative, responsive and determined. We also uphold honesty, integrity, safety and loyalty. It’s who I am personally and who we are as a business. When we front a client and I outline what we will do for them, and I know the company is behind me.

Every day, I turn up and work towards an outcome that will make a difference to somebody’s life. We build life experiences for people where they can learn, live, play and be supported if needed.

The first day of school in a new building, residents moving into a new home, a refurbished club being opened – these are special and proud times and yes, I have shed a happy tear over the years.

Paynter Dixon’s charity work also creates volunteering opportunities for employees. I enjoy volunteering with Thread Together, The Clontarf Foundation and the Sydney Street Feast. Every year, I join the CEO and Co Sleep Out in Blacktown with our long-term client, Workers Lifestyle Group. It’s a great initiative and another way of supporting community causes, such as wellbeing services for women and girls, through partnering.

Outside work I have been involved for many years with fundraising for the Cancer Council.

More than clients

We have a broad range of clients. These are people you work with, and you work with again. We can walk through the door and have a cuppa as work friends. It’s humbling to be asked by a client to manage the next stage of their work – in one case 6 times. There is a mutual respect that comes through delivering projects on time and budget, to the standard you would accept at home.

Life’s list

Yes, I’ve kept a list of 160 projects and counting. I make a point of taking my wife and kids to see as many projects as I can, that I’ve worked on, from Tumut to Tweed Heads, and from Sydney’s beaches to Broken Hill. I’ve covered much of the state and I’m proud of that 25-year-history.

Life evolves as your career evolves. When my sons were younger, I put them in helmets, vests and boots and took them onto a site at Milton. They loved to see where Dad went to work. My eldest is now an electrician working in the construction industry and the other a Chef. My daughter now wants to come to work as well. I have that rapport and knowing what they are doing every day because I have lived it – and continue living it.

Being one of 5 current employees to surpass this 25-year milestone and being part of a much bigger 110-year milestone – that’s special.

It’s also part of a learning curve. Every job has something different which you put in your kitbag or personal database. That’s where the mentoring kicks in. I enjoy watching the younger staff grow and find their path as you look to pass on 160 projects worth of knowledge to a younger generation.

Are you interested in working at Paynter Dixon? Read more.