Stu Martin started at entry level learning the ropes of his trade whilst completing his apprenticeship. Once qualified he honed his craft and moved up the ladder into a managerial position. Industry was pumping until one day, without warning, he was told that his position was to be made redundant.

With a new small family he had some tough decisions to make. Stu says, “Mum was freaked out Dad said ‘about bloody time, now its your time to go out and do your thing’ ”.

Taking the good and bad learnings from his previous employer, Stu set up shop in his garage and SMJ began – a bit like a little company called TradeMe. Eight months later he and wife Sarah found themselves comparing the ‘whys’ verses the ‘why-nots’ of branching out and took the leap. Since then he’s continued to always look back in order to move forward.

Stu says, “It’s a strong, rural-based company and we like to keep things personal. Our tagline ‘Clever Made Beautiful’ reflects not only the skills and knowledge we have but also reflects the values and standards we believe in.

“There are challenges every day but the cool thing is that we sit around the table a couple of times a day and openly discuss how the business is going and what we can do better. Our guys know what jobs have been won, what’s coming down the pipeline and when.

“We have a large variety and a level of difficulty of work. We embrace, acknowledge and respect our differences like age, experience, expertise and length of time. This creates a cool dynamic, the team are interested in each other’s jobs and enjoy sharing and learning new skills – it’s a cohesive team.

“I’ve work on a model of working smarter, understanding our limitations and outsourcing as required.