When Charlie Bontempo co-founded resource services company Tempo Australia in 2011, he had a vision to shake up the traditional culture of the construction and services industry and to drive productivity in a company from the bottom up. Being placed in the tough resources industry, from the very beginning Charlie wanted to differentiate Tempo by offering quality, efficiency and safety. It was this vision that drew current Tempo CEO and Managing Director, Max Bergomi, to his role with the company in early 2016.
“I got to know Charlie before joining and I loved his leadership philosophy,” says Max. “He very much believes in listening to the feedback from his workforce, essentially making Tempo a bottom-up organisation. This is also something I’m really pushing; it resonates with me.”
On a more personal level, Max says, “I was interested in joining an organisation that was effectively a start-up, and building it up from the grassroots. So I was really excited about the opportunity at Tempo. The company was just three years old when I joined, and was primarily operating in what is a very challenging resources market. Joining a small group with lean overheads and being able to shape it — with the leadership team — into something that is a change agent in the industry was something that really appealed to me.”
“We are very much client-focused and we absolutely want to be sure that our purpose is that of protecting and enhancing the investments of our clients.” – Max Bergomi
Seeking out start-up excitement
When Max joined Tempo in January this year he brought with him not only his considerable industry experience, but also a strong desire to continue the leadership philosophy set out by Charlie. Prior to Tempo, Max spent eight years with another Perth-based business, engineering company Clough, where he held a number of senior roles. Max has a strong engineering background and twenty years of experience in the engineering and oil and gas industries. He has held a number of high-profile senior positions in engineering, project management and commercial fields around the globe — from Milan to Houston; Jakarta to London.
With Charlie having cemented the culture of the company in place, Max has worked further to ensure the vision and culture of the company filters down to productivity levels. “We have a very flat management structure,” says Max, adding that it’s a key differentiator for the company and something they want to be known for.
Planning and communicating for improved quality, safety and productivity
“It’s all about engaging with our workforce — whether on site or at the office — in a much more direct way. We have specialised tools, systems and processes to help us meaningfully engage with our people, and that is at all stages of their employment, right from the time we receive their CV. What we are trying to ensure is that we can talk with our people in a much more open and clear manner, and also provide a safe and collaborative environment where they know they can talk to us and report back on how things can be done in a better and more efficient way,” says Max. Tempo’s working philosophy has been deliberately developed to facilitate communication and the resolution of issues by those physically doing the job. According to Max, management acts as a door to shape channels for this communication, “so we can constantly improve what we do in terms of quality, safety and productivity.”
Under the direction of Max, Tempo is continuing to refine its management system, ensuring it can operate with big clients effectively. The company has also developed key safety and productivity tools to bring to its clients, an offering that is unique in its level of specialisation. Tempo is the only contractor to do this, effectively saving its clients money as they don’t have to source from specialised management consultants. “Over the last six-to-eight months, we have focused our efforts on refining and enhancing our productivity tools in order to become a leader in this space,” explains Max. “For example, we established a partnership with an Australian technology provider that works in the geo-fencing and micro-fencing space, that is allowing us to use technology to report and drive site safety and productivity.”
Quality over quantity
He defines the company’s growth as being geared towards quality not quantity. With its focus on productivity, efficiency and safety, Max wants to see Tempo as the leading niche player in maintenance and construction solutions in the resources world; the change agent everyone reaches out to.
Having acquired Australian company Cablelogic in 2016, Tempo can further enhance its offering to clients, as well as diversify its client base. “We are very much a resources-based organisation, and have been founded out of mining and oil and gas. But acquiring Cablelogic means we can now work in the maintenance and construction space and also differentiate our services into the industrial and commercial sector,” says Max.
Key to the success of Tempo, are its suppliers — the organisations whose specialties span across all services. Max believes the relationships Tempo has with its providers helps to shape its future. “We have strong relationships with all of them and engage with them much like we engage with our workforce, to be sure we are aligned in purpose and intent.”
Purpose before growth
When asked about the company’s vision for future growth, Max states his focus is on Tempo’s purpose instead. “That is to deliver to our clients in the resources and industrial commercial sector, specialist multidisciplinary maintenance and construction services,” he explains.
“We are very much client-focused and we absolutely want to be sure that our purpose is that of protecting and enhancing the investments of our clients.” Max’s enthusiasm for his relatively
new role at Tempo is clear, with the self-confessed ‘workaholic’ admitting, “I love my job and I love this industry; everything that is related to construction in general gets me excited. People talk about work–life balance and we all have a different take on what this should be. There is no right or wrong balance. I would say that, in my case, my work is my play and my play is work.”