After graduating from university as an engineer, Mark Breuer took on a role in the public sector. Quickly realising that this wasn’t for him, he started working for the property consulting company that would eventually become Spiire. “I started off in local government, but worked out fairly quickly it wasn’t me, and that I always wanted to be in the private sector. Growing up, my family were quite active property developers in Victoria, so it was in the blood,” Mark says.
Mark progressed quickly in his new role, being trusted with high-level decision-making at a young age. The founder of the company, Douglas Coombs, and the board trusted Mark and mentored him. “The business was going through a rapid growth period. We were only based in Melbourne and looking for opportunities to expand. So, when the opportunity came up to open a new office in regional Victoria, Doug had a chat with me.
“I was 30 years old, leading our first regional Victoria office.
My focus was on growing the business and building relationships. Relationships are key for any business, and are absolutely critical for a business in a regional location.
Originally, I was going to be placed there for two years—eight years later, I left after starting two other offices, in Albury and Shepparton, growing them to about fifty staff. I returned to Melbourne in the late 2000s as part of the company’s succession plan.
“When I joined the business just over twenty years ago, it was quite a small engineering practice. It then grew to a point where our offering was diversified in both services and geography—this made it attractive to larger businesses. In 2005, it was bought by publicly listed construction company, Downer.
“There were a lot of lessons to be learnt through that time, and the business probably got a little distracted from its core market in property. In 2011, Downer started the process of divesting its consulting businesses. Through this, senior business leaders—Stephen Nolan, Michael Lewis, and I—decided to undertake a management buyout, and rebranded the business as Spiire.”