Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec (WGA) is an Australian-owned, multi-disciplinary, award-winning engineering and project management company. It’s broad array of consulting services include structural, civil, maritime, mechanical, geotechnical and hydrogeology work.
WGA prides itself on creating long-term collaborative client relationships, and delivering innovative, buildable and economical solutions.
We spoke to WGA Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Director Rick Penfold about his journey with the company and how it has grown to be so successful, particularly while navigating the impacts of the pandemic.
Rick Penfold has been a member of the WGA team for more than 17 years – having started at the company as the sole management accountant for a business of 50 employees, working his way up to his current position, for a group now exceeding 400 people.
During his time at the company, Rick has seen the company grow to take on some truly impressive projects, including the structural design of the Royal Adelaide Hospital – the largest hospital project ever undertaken in Australia, the Torrens to Torrens road upgrade in Adelaide and the designing of Melbourne’s first vertical school.
More recently, WGA took on the design and construct project to extend the life of the Port of Broome Wharf in Northern Western WA for an additional 20 years. This included constructing a heavy-duty area for a 250-tonne mobile crane, all while the wharf was fully operational.
While these projects have proven to be highly successful, growth however comes with additional resource requirements.
“The impacts of COVID-19 have varied across the business. From a core business perspective, it’s been relatively strong for WGA, and we have continued to grow across the Group including expanding into QLD with the opening of our Brisbane office,” said Rick.
“In terms of a direct impact we’ve made a significant shift in terms of IT infrastructure in order to mobilise our workforce to work from home with very short notice.
While the pandemic has been a catalyst for evolution, WGA has undertaken a number of changes over the course of its 40 plus year journey. Nexia Edwards Marshall has been alongside WGA the entire way in some capacity, offering its services since the inception of the engineering and project management powerhouse.
“We have been with Nexia Edwards Marshall for decades, and throughout that journey, they’ve looked after us very well and provided a wide array of reliable services,” Rick said.
“In more recent times we’ve transitioned from a Unit Trust to a corporate structure and more recently to a consolidated Group and Nexia Edwards Marshall have helped us through the complexities of those restructures and ensured we crossed all our t’s and dotted our i’s.
“We also utilise the services of Nexia New Zealand, who help us with payroll as it runs off a different set of rules than we have here in Australia. Rather than trying to train our staff to be across all of the nuances of the NZ legislation, we utilise the Nexia services to carry out this function for us and ensure we are compliant,” said Rick.
“Nexia Edwards Marshall's accessibility has always been excellent. You always know that you can send off an email or pick up the phone and someone will always reply to either answer a question or help to fix a problem, often straight away.”
Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director
Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec