Better Building talks with Lucas Piperides and David Hosking, the intergenerational duo taking HL Landscapes to new heights.
Over 45 years, HL Landscapes has been leading large-scale, iconic landscaping projects across Australia. Many of these projects – the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project, the Canberra Light Rail, Sydney’s WestConnex highway – have interesting stories behind them, but perhaps the most interesting story of all is one that has been unfolding behind the scenes over the
In 2009, a 21-year-old Lucas Piperides began working as a labourer for the company during his university holidays. His enthusiastic nature caught the attention of managing director David Hosking, who says, "his personable character and 'can do' mentality meant nothing was too hard, too long, too late or too difficult for Lucas!"
The two became close, and when Thiess John Holland offered Piperides a job as the landscape project engineer for the southern section of Airport Link, Hosking "demanded" he jump at the opportunity. A great opportunity it was for Piperides to learn more about the industry, but as the project came to an end, he decided it was time to return to a smaller company. His first port of call was HL Landscapes.
"We were rebuilding after trading our way out of voluntary administration," says Hosking, "and I said to him that if he was to come back I'd find a way to make it worth his while."
Piperides agreed, returning to HL Landscapes as construction manager.
"My goal when starting as construction manager was to create a company within the construction industry that ran as professionally as our tier one clients," says Piperides.
"We started to update all systems, policies and procedures within every aspect of the business including sales, delivery, marketing, HR, finance and technology to make it more streamlined and efficient.
"While gathering advice from our business advisors and David, we brought the business into the 21st century with updated online systems built in-house. We brought a focus on what we were good at, which is infrastructure projects, and did away with trying to build all projects while structuring our policies and procedures to match that of our core clients and their specification requirements."
Ultimately, the process took seven years.
"Nevertheless, I am still incredibly proud of what our team has managed to create in this timeframe. We now cover the entire east coast and are one of Australia’s largest landscape construction and maintenance companies."
Hosking says it was thanks to Piperides' youth, intelligence and passion that HL Landscapes is where it is today.
"There is no doubt in my mind that I couldn't have made the success this business has had even a decade ago without the knowledge and aptitude that Lucas brings to business. And at 66, I have been able to warn him off taking some of the wrong turns I made."
Piperides, in turn, says the distinct strengths and perspectives the two have create the balance necessary to give HL Landscapes an operational edge.
"There are not many instances that I know of where two people who are over 30 years apart get along on a business and personal level as well as Dave and myself do. Dave’s strengths are his experience and client relationships while mine are our systems and people management. And combined, we both have a great technical understanding of agriculture and rehabilitation."
Along with their team, the pair have pulled a 45-year-old organisation back from the brink to form a $45 million industry powerhouse in only six years.
So where to from here?
"Onwards and upwards!" declares Piperides.
"I have moved to Victoria to help set up our new office, which has started very well. We are also currently reviewing
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