From inception up until the setting up process, how did you start your business?
The company was in the making for some ten years.
In 2005 I let go of a secure well paid job to take a punt. It was no easy decision as I was leaving the public service with no payout and only a reputation for working in a number of areas in Government.
Often in the red and with no resources I somehow found my way occupying a small shared office on Hindley Street in Adelaide, where the rent was cheap.
Once the first two years had passed the company grew very quickly, to include national, state and local projects in three states and is now looking to China.
InfraPlan is now undertaking consultancies across Australia in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning, Transport and Infrastructure Planning, Environment and Sustainable Solutions and Traffic Engineering.
Infrastructure and Urban planning as a business seems unique, how do you secure your income?
The three levels of Government are clients on the urban planning side when strategically planning a new suburb or city, while developers are the main source of income when it comes to development approvals and traffic engineering services.
Has your Greek Australian background played any role in your business?
Being Greek Australian may have helped to create a multi-cultural workplace (Greek, Italian, Chinese backgrounds included in the mix), necessary in a Global economy.
The workplace is both accepting of all backgrounds while creating a sense of purpose underpinned by a strong work ethic, as well as having some fun along the way.
What would you say stands out as the comparative advantage of your business over the competition?
Innovation, being small and therefore flexible, and joining with very experienced principals of other small companies when required are part of the formulae.
How is business currently?
The company now works on urban development and infrastructure projects worth several hundred millions of dollars to well over a billion dollars providing economic, engineering, urban planning and more recently sustainability advice.
Recent projects included the Northern Expressway and South Road Superway and new trams in Adelaide. Urban Planning can include the master-planning of key sites right through the strategic planning of urban infill strategies for councils.
National projects currently include the Northern Territory Transport Strategy and national guidelines for the federal government in the areas of planning, ports, freight and economic evaluation.
The Victorian Government has now engaged the company as a consultant.
What is your vision for the future of your business?
The business is about to open an office in Bourke Street, Melbourne, with local partners, reflecting both the necessity to expand and current contracts. This will allow us to launch into Asia from a multi-national city like Melbourne.
I am particularly interested in partnering with companies to develop projects in Singapore and China.
Do you have any tips for young entrepreneurs?
The key is to take calculated risks in small steps that take you in a particular direction, that is unwavering. That direction reflects both a vision and a set of values, that are genuinely yours.
More importantly that vision has to be understood and shared by others because you will only succeed if you can win the hearts and minds of those you take with you on your journey. Making a profit along the way is important to sustain growth but should not be the sole driver.
I think this is essentially what embodies the spirit of an entrepreneur.