Edward Singleton – MPA Projects

Member of TEC 10, Chaired by John Kranenburg
Sydney, New South Wales

TEC-Member-Edward-Singleton-MPA-ProjectsBeing one of the biggest names in the Sydney construction scene doesn’t mean it has always been plain sailing for MPA Projects.

However, by focussing on staff members and investing in the business, Director Edward Singleton has been able to achieve considerable recognition and develop a viable business.

  • Breaking into a crowded market
  • Developing staff capabilities
  • Investing in a quality service

The challenge:

Selling a service in a difficult market Building a business in a competitive industry

Despite its successes, MPA Projects faced a number of obstacles in its journey from a small company started “by a couple of young guys” in 1999 into the leading provider of workplace and office fitouts in the New South Wales capital.

For a start, the competitive nature of the construction market means MPA Projects is constantly on its toes, while of course the GFC took its toll as well. On top of that, a constant issue for MPA Projects is managing its cost base while maintaining a high quality of service.

So what philosophy did the company’s director, Edward Singleton, adopt in order to help grow it into the dominant force it is today, making projected turnovers of $80 million?

The action:

Focussing on staff development

According to Edward, the secret lies in good people management and allowing each member of his 60-strong staff base to grow and develop within the organisation.

“I really want people to be able to grow their careers and their experiences with us, to learn in their roles and to be mentored,” he says.

“The success of my business has been in surrounding myself with talented individuals and we work on unlocking their potential and giving them opportunity.”

The results:

Constant improvement leads to professional recognition

It’s an approach that has obviously worked, judging by the accolades MPA Projects has garnered over the years. In addition to the numerous Master Builders Australia awards it has picked up, it also won recognition from a variety of industry organisations including Hassell Studio, Investec and the Qantas Centre of Service Excellence.

The company has proved to be a pioneer in the environmental stakes as well, and Edward says the environmental certifications it adheres to dictate the way it conducts its business. Additionally, the Green Star pilot project it participated in recently demonstrates the contribution it makes to green construction in Australia.

Although much of his company’s success has been down to his effective leadership, Edward is under no illusions when it comes to the impact the TEC business mentoring program has had.

Joining TEC opened my eyes up to the opportunities available to grow a small business quite rapidly into a larger organisation – one that’s solid and has sound principles – in a strategic and well-managed way, The opportunity and exposure to work with others in similar roles in non-competing businesses is incredibly valuable.

Such is the influence TEC has on his company that an additional four of his staff members are also signed up to the KEY program. According to Edward, giving some of his colleagues access to the same teachings he benefits from has proved to be a wise move.

“I’ve mentioned the importance of growing the talent of people in the organisation, and the great thing about KEY is allowing them to be exposed to the same learnings and insights that I gain through the TEC speaker program,” he explains.

“This has enabled them to come on the journey and to really contribute effectively and to understand what the business is trying to achieve.”