Five Minutes With: Tony Croagh, Omexom Australia managing director

Omexom Australia managing director Tony Croagh

It’s an exciting time for Omexom Australia, which has just rebranded from Electrix, a provider of engineering, construction and maintenance services to asset owners. We get to know the company through its managing director Tony Croagh.

Tell us a little about yourself: what is your career background and how did you get involved with Electrix, now Omexom Australia?

While the early part of my career was spent in accounting and finance, generally around the construction industry, the majority has been in senior leadership roles within the construction and energy sectors, which is where my interest lies.

I joined the Electrix executive team in 2012, later becoming the managing director in 2018. Working for a contracting business can be challenging but is also very rewarding and since becoming managing director the business is growing steadily and attempting to keep pace with the changing energy market environment.

With my studies at Monash University and then Stanford University Graduate School of Business I believe I have developed the skills to lead the business and my team forward within a rapidly changing environment.

Can you tell us a bit about Omexom Australia and what you do?

Our Omexom brand covers operations in 36 countries, over 425 business units, almost 23,000 people and a $6.0 billion annual turnover. We offer an entire range of engineering, construction and maintenance services to our customers, in generation, transmission, sub- station, distribution and territories (street lighting, EV stations etc.)

Omexom Australia has a clear strategic five-year plan with a firm direction on the way forward. We have the dedicated expertise within Australia and internationally to execute projects with excellence, helping our customers achieve their objectives. Our continuous growth and valuable long-term customer relationships has resulted in extensive contract renewals which is a large part of our business.

As managing director of Omexom Australia, I am looking forward to managing the next stage of our strategic roadmap, within an ecosystem of renewable energy, digital transformation, and asset efficiency and security.

Related article: Asset management risk in today’s electricity network businesses

What’s the reason for the rebrand?

VINCI Energies, a French business with a turnover of €12.6 billion, has been our parent since 2014 with Omexom being one of their five global brands.

With the international Omexom brand sharing common values and similar business models the transition to our new brand was inevitable and we believe the transition has been accepted quite well.

We will continue to focus on our key business lines and maintain the strength of our Pride, Performance and Value and strong safety message “Home Without Harm, Everyone Every Day” and the brand change has not affected the running of our projects in any way.

For our existing clients it will be business as usual and we will gradually increase our service offering in line with the changing industry.

What projects is Omexom working on at the moment?

Apart from our large contract renewals in transmission and distribution and asset services, and the completion of a number of renewable projects in the next 12 months which are already in the pipeline our other focus has been setting up the first synchronous condenser in Australia for some time. Located near Ouyen in North West Victoria, and the largest solar farm in the state, the synchronous condenser will contribute to the protection of the electricity grid connected to the Kiamal Solar farm. As Australia’s energy mix diversifies so does the importance of this proven technology to help stabilise our grid with economic and environmental advantages.

Another valuable contract is our seven-year partnership with the ACT Government delivering a total solution for the upgrade, operation and maintenance of the street lighting network under an Energy Performance Contract model. This contract is the largest smart lighting project undertaken in Australia and the first under this model. The upgrade of around 55 per cent of the existing streetlights with energy efficient LED technology provides energy savings to the Territory of more than 45 per cent. With our close collaboration with the respective VINCI Energies operations, we have been able to offer a service to the ACT Government that will allow them to achieve their business targets.

Related article: Energy regulator approves SA-NSW Interconnector

What’s the best part of the job?

As safety is our top priority when executing projects, the most pleasing part of my job is seeing our employees go home to their loved ones at night, hence out motto “Home without Harm, Everyone Everyday”. We are constantly reviewing our safety systems and adopting new and safer ways to work. Our refresher training, maintenance of plant and equipment, audits, risk assessments and safety forums are only a few ways that we manage safety.

Our ongoing commitment to safety has resulted in an excellent safety record without a fatality over the 25 years in operation. We have developed a safety culture within the business that I am very proud of.

What changes would you like to see in the industry and how do you see it evolving?

As global markets have a preference for renewable energy, I would like to see a greater shift towards renewable energy in Australia and also some sustainable government policy around the renewable energy sector. Our industry must anticipate change and adapt to new ways of working, but some degree of surety is needed.

Previous articleAsset management risk in today’s electricity network businesses
Next articleAus Institute: $460m lifeline needed to save ARENA