This construction consulting firm consists entirely of Bond alumni
Sam Fairless’s teenage plan to become a carpenter may not have panned out but he has gone on to build a successful company on a foundation of fellow Bondies. Mr Fairless (Class of 2007) is the Managing Director of Lead Consultants, a construction consulting firm where all six team members are alumni of Bond University.
The company, which has offices on the Gold Coast and in Townsville, specialises in aged care projects - but the team is a youthful one, with Mr Fairless the eldest at 34.
“I originally wanted to do carpentry and had an apprenticeship lined up in Year 12,” he says. “I planned to work my way up on the tools to construction management but the apprenticeship fell over before it started. Then Bond announced it was launching degrees in sustainable development.”
Mr Fairless enrolled in a Bachelor of Property and Sustainable Development – Construction Management and Quantity Surveying and graduated in 2010. He started working in the construction industry while still studying and gained further experience at several firms including an international engineering company before deciding to strike out on his own with Lead Consultants weeks after turning 25.
The company is currently involved in construction projects across Queensland and the Northern Territory.
“I always had the drive to go up and go up quickly, so when the opportunity came to do my own thing, I went for it,” he says.
“I like working in a team environment, in management and architecture. Project management has that middle ground where you’re involved in design, you’re involved in construction. You can be involved in everything from right at the start to the finish, so that ticked all the boxes for me.”
As the company expanded, Mr Fairless began recruiting Bondies he had met during his time on campus and others who came to Lead on work experience placements.
His current team includes Mr Andrew Pitt (Class of 2015), Ms Kendal Riner (Class of 2018), Mr Nelson Sorrensen (Class of 2018), Mr David Saccardo (Class of 2018), and Ms Elena Hsieh (Class of 2019).
“We’ve got quite a young team, the youngest is 22,” Mr Fairless says. “We’ve got some bigger projects but we get a lot of smaller work which is great for training up people.
"Big project mentality doesn’t always work on small projects and having people fresh out of university who are open to thinking outside the box is an advantage.”
Lead Consultants Director Mr Andrew Pitt met Mr Fairless at high school and went on to train as a carpenter before enrolling at Bond. He performed work experience at Lead in his first semester and was working there full time by the time he graduated.
“We’re a really tight team and everyone gets along well,” Mr Pitt says. “I think that’s been good for developing our culture and our work ethic because everyone enjoys coming to work. I’ve kind of grown up here, looking up to Sam as a role model. Now I’m a business partner and working with him is quite inspirational.”
Business Manager Ms Kendal Riner came from the US to attend Bond after an earlier study stint in Australia. She says the international nature of Bond is reflected at Lead with Mr Saccardo also from the US and Ms Hsieh hailing from Taiwan.
“There’s a little international club of Bondies here and we’re all putting in our applications for permanent residency,” Ms Riner says. “I had a great time at Bond and I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at in Australia without the connections that I made there.”