In the late 1970s, Jim Bruce purchased a small cutter suction dredge to extract sand from the Hastings River in Port Macquarie, New South Wales. Birdon was born. The family-owned and -operated business quickly progressed to become a successful and diversified marine engineering group in Australia, and has recently expanded its operations into the US.
When Jim passed away in 2008, his son Jamie took over as CEO, supported by his sister Tammy Bugler as CFO. "We operate across four main divisions," Jamie explains. "The Marine division has a longstanding reputation for producing high-quality outcomes in marine vessel manufacturing, refurbishment, and maintenance; the Defence division is well regarded within the Australian and US defence industries by providing innovative, value-for-money products and services; Engineering & Contracting services is where our core capabilities have opened up highly successful opportunities in non-marine fabrication and other diverse activities such as disposal of defence assets; and then theres the Dredging side of the business, which is how it all started. We mainly operate cutter suction dredgers and backhoe type dredgers throughout the South Pacific."
Birdon's headquarters are in Port Macquarie, and divisional offices are located in Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, and Denver in the US. Jamie says the company's involvement with the Australian and US defence forces has been a huge coup for the group. Between 2003 and 2005, Birdon built 24 Bridge Erection Propulsion Boats for the Australian Army. Last year, following an extremely competitive four-year tender process, Birdon secured a US$260-million contract with the US Government to construct up to 374 Bridge Erection Boats (BEBs) for the US Army over six years.