Meet our General Manager Andrew Carroll

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Focused, hard-working and a true family man, our General Manager Andrew Carroll has been a fearless leader of change within Hamlan. And he’s only just getting started. In the first article of our profile series on the local people who make Hamlan, we spoke to Andrew about how he got into the construction industry and where he hopes to take the business into the future.  

It has been five years since Andrew Carroll took over the reigns at Hamlan as General Manager, and since then the business has experienced remarkable change. Alongside the executive team, Andrew oversaw Hamlan’s rebrand, redesign, and a restructure of its personnel and procedures. In 2018, this massive overhaul culminated into Hamlan’s most successful year in sales to date. An accomplishment Andrew considers as his greatest professional achievement.

But how did Andrew get to this point? And where to next for Andrew and Hamlan?

Where it all began
For Andrew, a career in construction was something he almost fell into. Born and bred in Geelong, Andrew comes from a farming family — his father was a wool classer and his brothers are farmers who specialise in merino wool. Inspired by his own father’s hands-on line of work, Andrew chose a degree in Construction Management at Deakin University, Geelong Campus.

His real taste of the industry came when he started part-time work as a bricklayer’s labourer. It was this experience that allowed Andrew to see first-hand what could be achieved within the industry with hard-work and an eye for quality. This employment continued until he finished his degree.

“I began working for bricklayers who were really passionate about what they did,” he says.

“They were the best brickies I’ve ever met. Quality was very important to them. It didn’t matter what sort of money they were making, they just wanted to do it right every time. It was a big part of why I stayed in the construction industry. It gave me that taste that led me to what I’ve done now.

“It was a real eye-opener for me, and I have made life-long friends because of what they did for me.”

As Andrew progressed through his study, he was given the opportunity in his fourth year of university to work part-time at Hamlan as an estimator. It then led to a quick progression through the ranks at Hamlan. Andrew went from estimator to project administrator, then from a supervisor to a project manager. When the unit development he was working on in Hamlan finished, he left the business and continued working on residential developments in Melbourne.

Andrew was enticed back to his hometown to work for another volume builder where he stayed for 11 years, first as a supervisor and then as construction manager.

He returned to Hamlan to take up the building manager position overseeing production and construction. Soon after, he was promoted to general manager.

“I saw the benefits that Hamlan gave me,” he says. “And I’ve been very very lucky to be in certain roles when I was quite young in comparison to other people, however that came with a lot of hard work and hard work is rewarded when opportunities arise.”

Hamlan’s five-year plan
Alongside the executive team, Andrew spearheaded a massive overhaul of Hamlan.

“Our five-year plan was to bring Hamlan back to Geelong, to take back our piece of the pie in our own backyard,” he says. “We now know that, without a doubt, we are one of the biggest builders in Geelong that’s now branched out to Ballarat and Colac.

“We’re a local builder, and that’s what we wanted to achieve. Hamlan is now well and truly in the 21st century when it comes to personnel and procedure.”

Andrew says he’s still not done.

“My time’s not done here, I have lots that I want to do,” he says. “Over the past five years we have worked really, really hard on our numbers and procedures. For the next five years our aim is to maintain those numbers, but do it smarter and do it better.

“My aim is to be as efficient as we can in our own town and have the best work life balance for our staff that we can achieve.

“We are a family business and everyone has pressures between balancing family and work. I don’t want work to be an additional pressure to any family. We need to be able to return the investment back to our team’s families, that’s our ultimate.”

Building his dream with Hamlan
As General Manager, Andrew decided to build his own dream family home with Hamlan to truly understand how Hamlan’s building process worked.

“I didn’t get any special treatment,” he says. “I got to experience what all our clients experience when they build a home with Hamlan.

“I wanted to go through the sales process, I wanted to do the custom build process, I wanted to do a colour consultation. I wanted to experience the build because I wanted to know where our pressure points were.”

Andrew says the experience was invaluable to understand and streamline Hamlan’s processes. And, he says, many elements that can be seen in the current Aspect range of homes were trialled on his home, which also inspired the Sabine 344 floorplan.

Geelong’s bigger picture
The greater community is also something that Andrew is passionate about, particularly when it comes to nurturing young people in the industry. He is heavily involved in Geelong community organisations including Grow (a joint initiative between Give Where You Live Foundation and G21 — Geelong Region Alliance), G21, Northern Futures and Geelong Community Foundation.

He also sits on the Regional Industry Sector Employment program (RISE) steering committee as the Geelong Master Builders representative. RISE is a City of Greater Geelong program — a solution to Geelong’s industry skills shortage. It’s designed to connect people to skills and jobs — something that the local construction industry is in much need of.

RISE students visiting Hamlan site

Inspired by his own experience and the opportunities he gained as a young person, Andrew’s focus is on getting apprentices into the industry and training them right. He says it’s not just important for his own business, but for the Geelong region as it faces massive growth.

“Not many people are talking about how we’re going to approach this growth happening in Geelong now,” he says. “The work being done through the RISE campaign is what I am passionate about. It’s exciting — this campaign creates opportunities to train young people with skills that can benefit businesses across our region, businesses like Hamlan.

“I’m very passionate about finding the right people for these apprenticeships. It’s all about connecting those dots and then getting those apprentices to our subcontractors.”

Hamlan’s General Manager Andrew Carroll has more than 25 years in construction, and in that time has gained a deep understanding of the industry through many organisations in the Victorian construction industry.

From a bricklayer’s labourer while at university, through to estimator, site supervisor, project administrator, project manager, sales manager and building manager, Andrew has been involved in multi residential, single dwellings, townhouse constructions and retirement village design and construct.

Andrew was appointed to Hamlan and Geelong Homes’ General Manager in 2013 where he has spearheaded organisational change through a rebrand, redesign and a restructure of its personnel and procedure. In 2018, Hamlan experienced its most successful year in sales.

Andrew is passionate about nurturing young people in the industry and is involved in Geelong community organisations including Regional Industry Sector Employment program (RISE), Grow (a joint initiative between Give Where You Live Foundation and G21 – Geelong Region Alliance), G21 and Geelong Community Foundation.

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