Inside Mainmark: introducing senior technician, Pip Buunk

Before joining Mainmark earlier this year, Pip Buunk was New Zealand’s only registered female driller, managing drill rigs for geotechnical site investigation, water bore, and geohazard stabilisation projects.

After more than 15 years of working in the drilling industry, and being named the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Tradeswoman of the Year in 2018, Pip made the move to Mainmark. We recently spoke to Pip about her impressive career and what she loves most about working for Mainmark.

You’ve recently joined Mainmark, but you have worked with the team on different projects in the past. Tell us a little about that.

My career had mostly been in the geotechnical sector of the drilling industry, and about six years ago I started working with Mainmark on a project basis, including undertaking pre and post injection testing for the Northwood Supa Centa and Red Zone trials in Christchurch. I really enjoyed working on these sites, especially the Supa Centa as there were several challenges associated with accessing a drill rig inside the shopping complex. As I had such a positive experience working with the Mainmark crew, when an opportunity to work for Mainmark permanently came about in July this year, I jumped at the chance to join the team.

Can you describe your career journey so far?

I’ve had a pretty amazing career so far. As a ‘fresh out of school’ driller, I have achieved all the goals I set myself, including being elected to the NZ Drillers Federation Council and winning a few awards along the way. I’ve been fortunate to work on some very interesting projects in some pretty amazing locations over the years, however, I have also experienced some significant challenges working as a female in the construction industry. It’s refreshing to join Mainmark as they have a fantastic culture and great people.

As a senior technican at Mainmark, can you tell us about your role and what a typical day looks like for you?

As a senior technician, my days are usually spent working on Teretek resin injection or JOG Computer-Controlled Grouting projects. As a former driller, I have a fascination with resin and grout – I’m like a kid in a candy shop. The products are very different to other grouts I’ve worked with because you can do so much more with them. Since joining Mainmark, I’ve travelled to many different sites in Auckland, the middle of the North Island, Wellington and Christchurch. Currently I’m working on a large civil works project for a water treatment plant where we are undertaking testing and geotechnical drilling investigations.

What have you learnt in your short time working with Mainmark?

I never knew how much you could do with grout!  I’m also learning about how much can be achieved through team collaboration – we work on some difficult and complex projects and managing client expectations can be stressful but as a team we work together to find a solution. This is one of the reasons why Mainmark is such an awesome place to work.

What do you find rewarding about the work you do?

I like that we leave a building or house better than it was when we first arrived on site and the great feedback we receive from happy clients is always a bonus.

Would you like to see more women in the industry?

In short, yes. Diversity brings a totally different dynamic to the industry compared to being in an environment of masculine energy all day.

What is the most memorable experience you’ve had professionally?

Probably winning Tradeswoman of the Year in 2018. It came at a really rough time in my career when I was dealing with some very challenging experiences, so it was nice to have my work recognised even if I wasn’t feeling like a success at the time.

Can you tell us something that not many people know about you?

I’ve been collecting cacti and succulents since I was in high school. I currently have two which are more than 15 years old, named Spike and Jim, along with about 30 others that do their best to survive without water during my trips away. I’m also a power lifter and have been known to put my workmates over my shoulder and squat with them!


By Pip Buunk

Pip Buunk was New Zealand’s only registered female driller, managing drill rigs for geotechnical site investigation, water bore, and geohazard stabilisation projects. She has 15 years experience in the drilling industry, and was named the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Tradeswoman of the Year in 2018.