Keeping You Cool

The concentration of the oil and gas and dairying industries around the South Taranaki town of Hawera was enough to convince Stephen Frowde to start a specialised refrigeration and air conditioning business there.

Now, seven years later, the company has grown to encompass more than 30 staff and offices in Manawatu, Wanganui, Hamilton and Tauranga.

“The opportunity to start the business brought us to Taranaki, and we’re really proud to have been able to attract a number of other families here, as well as training a lot of locals,” says Stephen.

This focus on training is at the core of the business’s rapid, though as Stephen puts it, organic growth.

“We’re a niche business, and there is limited staff availability in New Zealand for what we do. We’ve utilised Venture Taranaki to help find apprentices – and in the future we’ll be looking to tap into their international recruitment links,” Stephen says.

But the relationship with Venture Taranaki began long before the company was ready to take on an apprentice.

“We started with a business mentor - we’ve been with that mentor now for six years and gained a lot of good advice – and more recently we’ve signed up to Capability Development Vouchers, which has worked really well for us.”

Excel have used the vouchers, which half-fund a range of approved courses, to boost their HR and leadership skills, not only at the head of the business, but across the whole team.

“The vouchers, and the connections they’ve given us to trainers, have really opened doors that were relevant to our business,” says Stephen, “We’ll be doing more in the future as there’s real value to the guys here, and you’ve got to look after your team to look after your customers.”

This business-wide focus on training appears to be working, if the latest addition to the corporate trophy cabinet – a 2011 Taranaki Apprenticeship Award – or Excel’s impressive growth trajectory is anything to go by.