Northland’s Doug the Digger (aka Alistair McIntyre) received a national Service Award for his role in helping young people learn the skills to operate excavators and start careers in civil construction. The award was presented at a dinner attended by more than 450 industry leaders and business owners on 2 August at the Civil Contractors New Zealand National Conference in Rotorua.
Mr McIntyre said civil construction was his “life and passion”, and the most satisfying thing in his career was identifying and developing young people to take on leadership roles, such as Clements Quarries Manager Jake Rouse, who became New Zealand’s youngest quarry manager at 22.
“I just love this industry. All the people that want to rabbit on about finding young people… they are out there. It’s also about us old buggers stepping back, believing in them, supporting them, giving them opportunity, a bit of guidance and then allowing and having the brains to let them take over.”
Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Silcock said the award recognised Mr McIntyre’s passionate commitment to introducing young people to careers in civil construction.
“Alistair shares his passion and love for the industry with every person he interacts with. His time travelling the country presenting the Doug the Digger roadshow and his time spent helping young people find meaningful careers in civil construction have been a real asset to our industry.”
Mr McIntyre’s passion for civil construction started at a young age, following on from his father who was a civil engineer. He left school at 15, and by the age of 17 had his own business. He went on to work for civil construction company McBreen Jenkins operating machinery for a number of years before a serious workplace injury led to a big turning point in his life.
It was then that he decided to follow his dream of writing a book. He went back to school to re-learn to write and read, so he could write the book he dreamed of – which became “Doug the Digger”.
The Doug the Digger roadshow has seen Alistair travel the country including attending many Civil Contractors New Zealand National and Regional Excavator Operator Competitions where he runs a mini-dig to give young people a chance to see that they too can take the controls of an excavator.
Mr McIntyre also saw a need to help young people get into jobs in the industry. This quickly became his passion and he established the “Youth into Industry” initiative. This initiative saw many young people gain the chance, the confidence and the skills learnt from Alistair to take them forward into successful careers within the civil construction industry.
He has also been a big supporter of Whangarei Special Olympics and Duffy Books in Schools, and receives capable support from his partner Barbara Busst.
Mr McIntyre was presented with the Service Award at the CCNZ Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards Dinner at Energy Events Centre on 2 August. The Awards Dinner also recognised the civil construction industry’s peak projects from the past year.