Inside Mainmark: The future of ground engineering innovation

Published on Monday, October 17th, 2016

Tim Pope COO of Mainmark portrait

Interview with Tim Pope – Chief Operating Officer of Mainmark

How did you come to work at Mainmark?

I’ve worked in construction management throughout my career, including 14 years with Multiplex and more recently with Transfield. When I first came across Mainmark, I thought ‘How have we not heard of these guys?’. It’s a company that has a real point of difference.

Given my background and experience I could see the enormous opportunity that lay ahead for this business. After meeting with Phil Mack and Paul Hickman, I sensed this was a dynamic company that I wanted to work for. It was my corporate construction understanding that resonated with them, for a role that would help to transition the business from its consumer ground engineering roots to a serious name in the business-to-business (B2B) environment. I’ve just reached two years with Mainmark and the future is looking strong.

The new Mainmark brand was introduced last year. What motivated the change?

Uretek was the core product in our ground engineering offering. We now have a suite of products and technologies, which means we need to give our individual product brands space to breathe. To do that, we needed to introduce a parent brand – Mainmark – to set us up for the future. The origin of the name comes from an aboriginal word which means good or, the best. 

What is the vision for Mainmark and what steps are you taking to realise this?

Our vision is to be a globally recognised specialist ground engineering and asset preservation company, taking Mainmark from a business that works internationally to a globally recognised brand. We are specialists in ground engineering in the Asia Pacific region, which was celebrated by our recent win of the International Project of the Year at the Ground Engineering Awards in the UK, for our work re-levelling the Christchurch Art Gallery. It makes sense for us to target critical infrastructure and assets that are hard to replace. In spite of the scale of the projects we work on, our ground remediation and re-levelling causes minimal disruption and downtime. This means these priority buildings and structures can remain in continual use in most cases.

What are the essential elements for a successful ground engineering project?

Experience gained from many years and having the right players seated at the table to match the needs of the project. The ability to think flexibly during the process is also important. You need to be nimble, and know when to stop and when to say no. We have highly qualified in-house ground engineers and technicians working together with fastidious attention to detail to solve problems and deliver on each project. It’s the complete opposite to the world of construction.

What is the future of ground engineering technology?

We are moving away from relying on large, invasive machines to solve ground engineering issues; instead, we’re using more technology-led products and applications. Our engineers are using new solutions, such as JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting, for a more precise, hi-tech, low disruption approach to weak ground, earthquake remediation and related problems. It’s about finding smarter, cleaner ways to address ground engineering, which also deliver huge value in terms of reducing plant and labour costs as well as project times.

How will the Mainmark offering evolve in the next five years?

We see Mainmark as shifting from a predominantly business-to-consumer (B2C) business to a 50/50 B2B/B2C company. As part of this, Mainmark is building on its flagship technologies that complement our resin injection offering, as we shift into the growing market for asset preservation, including remediating ageing infrastructure.

What motivates you personally?

I enjoy the excitement of working in a dynamic business. At Mainmark we are entering a new growth phase both locally and internationally, which includes launching new products and technologies that will expand our capability. There is a real diversity in the nature of work we do. And I’m working with people who are very passionate and approach their work with a high level of integrity, which is extremely rewarding.

What advice would you give to young people starting out in the industry?

Be hands-on. You can’t base decisions on theory alone, because nothing replaces experience. University teaches your brain how to think but remember to keep thinking and not blindly follow plans. Always be prepared to follow a non-traditional path, which in the case of ground engineering can encompass a range of disciplines including civil, structural and geotechnical engineering.

How do you like to spend your downtime?

I love spending time with my family and getting lots of time outdoors. I particularly enjoy playing golf, snowboarding, going fishing and boating, as well as surfing.

Tim Pope

Tim is the Chief Operating Officer at Mainmark. He is a leader in the ground engineering  construction industry, having held various executive and senior management roles globally. He has broad technical skills, corporate experience and a disciplined approach to risk management.

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