“One of the things that inspired me to start Empower Construction was that I always wanted to work for a company that doesn’t just use young people, but rather one that was able to provide a better future or opportunities for its people,” says Empower Construction’s CEO, Ryan Steyn.
Ryan launched Empower in 2007, after spending time in the construction industry as well as a stint as a personal trainer. “Going back into the construction industry, working directly with the products and Hebel [!aerated!] at the time, I realised that I would be able to affect and influence a lot more people on a larger scale than I could ever do in the fitness industry,” he says.
Ryan says that the choice of Empower as a business name reflects the company’s point of difference: “It reflects our desire to create a better world for everyone whose lives are touched by our products and services,” he says. “It’s a grand ambition perhaps, but one that is authentically us.”
Ranked amongst the top five medium-sized businesses in the 2015 Telstra Business Awards
Over its ten years in operation, Empower has grown considerably, and Ryan is proud of the achievements his people have made so far, including work that placed the company in the BRW Fast 100 two years running, and ranking in the top five medium-sized businesses in last year’s Telstra Business Awards.
“Just the fact that I started out in my Hyundai Excel,” says Ryan. “And to see the transformation from there, from working in the back of a house, to moving into an office space, to having to then renovate that office to double the size and still thinking it won’t be big enough — that’s enough to make me proud.”
While Ryan sees this growth in size as a physical representation of the company’s growth, it’s his people who make him most proud of Empower’s growth. “We’ve had guys start with us who were labourers five years ago and are now managing projects worth up to $3 million for us,” he says. “They’re now project managers, and to see the growth of individuals like that in the company has been really fulfilling.”
A reputation built on high calibre products
In addition to his people, Ryan says that his company’s “high calibre products” are essential, not only to its commercial success, but also to achieving the goal of empowerment. Lightweight materials are a speciality for Empower — materials that enable easier construction. One such material is autoclaved aerated concrete (AAV, or Hebel), which is installed in panels.
“Originally we started using it in commercial projects and residential high-rises, as internal partition walls,” says Ryan. “And then, after using the product we realised that it can be applied to other residential projects.”
This residential market is creating great returns for Empower, and the goal is to reach $100 million turnover this year, as well as constructing 800 homes.
“Hebel also provides a good fire rating, but the major benefit is the speed of installing the panel,” he says. “If you look at one Hebel panel, it’s pretty much equivalent to ninety bricks. Dealing with these panels we’ve been able to reduce the timeframe of building, the external façade of the house, and the cladding of the house, by half that time if not to one third.”
Ryan is also keen to enable his customers by passing on experience and advice. Helping customers choose the perfect lightweight construction materials means they benefit, as do their construction objectives. Furthermore, Ryan is proud to be able to give independent advice, with Empower not tied to any one supplier.
“When people ask me about the business, one of the things I say is that our main goal is to empower others to achieve,” he says. “We achieve that through job opportunities, training, enhancement, and our purpose is to revolutionise the industry that we’re in so that we can prove that it’s one of integrity, honesty, and abundance.”