It has now come time for Graham Liddell to hang up his steel-capped boots. As many of you know, Graham is the heart and soul of Liddell Contracting. While it won’t quite be the same with him retired, the strength of his legacy will continue. So, let’s look back at the amazing work Graham has accomplished.
Beginning his construction journey as a sole trader, Graham worked as a structural welder, maintenance mechanic and construction worker in 1988 before forming Liddell Construction in 1990. By 1996 this one-man band had grown to include a team of 8 and become a registered company. Their involvement in the Otira Viaduct project was a huge milestone in their early years.
Becoming well-known throughout the West Coast community for their skills in structure maintenance and repairs, Liddell Contracting carried out work on whatever they could get their hands on. With work coming from local councils or maintenance contractors, their reputation for having an innovative approach to projects soon saw them branching out into the rail network. This led to some iconic KiwiRail projects such as B1 Rapahoe Maintenance, 28 Hokitika Maintenance, B16 Mid & B27 Mid rail beam replacements and the involvement in the TSEP project.
His extensive industry knowledge coupled with an understanding of the West Coast’s unpredictable weather and logistical challenges gave Graham the leading edge in the industry. Graham’s ingenuity led him to work for Dispatch at the Holcim cement plant in his early days. He worked so hard at Holcim that his family would joke about it being his second home! Holcim later became a long-serving maintenance contract for Liddell Contracting for 15 Liddell workers. Collaborating on the successful design and build of the Holcim SCL Plant was a highlight for Liddell’s as it was recognised by ACENZ as an award-winning plant. Later, Liddell’s expanded into the West Coast mining industry not only laying pipe but also creating unique machinery to aid underground work such as the compressed air digger.
Graham’s moto ‘meeting challenges and providing solutions’ is reflected in how he has structured Liddell’s to make it the success it continues to be. Anna Liddell, the company’s General Manager, and Graham’s daughter, said it best, “When it goes in the ‘too hard basket’ we come up with a way to make it work – and that’s very much what the business has got its name for – that innovative ‘design and build’ work.” This is a testament to the culture Graham has created at Liddell’s.
Graham has always built collaborative relationships which extend into his joining us here at the Isaac Group in 2020. Liddell Construction became part of the Isaac Group to ensure the company’s longevity and continuation on the West Coast. The alignment of Liddell’s with the Isaac Group has allowed the growth of support and investment in the region to be maintained by the local knowledge and expertise fostered by Graham.
Although Graham will be starting his transition to retirement, we are still fortunate to have him supporting the wider Isaac Group consulting on special projects for some time to come. Graham, we want to thank you for your passion in creating this legacy and wish you all the best heading into your retirement.