Caption: The Hon Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Pio Tikoduadua, new local MWH shareholders Ravindra Pillay, Rimal Karan, Elina Kelepi, Atunaisa Nayago and Josefa Vueti, Fiji Roads Authority CEO Neil Cook and Fiji Roads Authority Chairman Parmesh Chand at a ceremony acknowledging the new shareholders.Photo:SUPPLIED.
Two years after MWH Global opened offices in Suva and Nadi, five Fiji-based staff have been offered the opportunity to become shareholders in the international parent company.
The global engineering, consulting and construction company has almost 7,000 staff and is 100% employee owned.
Once a year, eligible staff (who have usually been working for MWH for more than two years) are invited to become shareholders or increase their shareholding. These new shareholders will join five Fiji based staff who have already bought in to MWH Global, bringing the total number to ten.
MWH Global, which has more than 120 local staff, has had a presence in Fiji for twenty years in some capacity. More recently, it has worked as a consultant to the Fiji government, and since its establishment, for the Fiji Roads Authority.
Marshall Davert, Americas and Asia Pacific president of government and infrastructure for MWH Global, says the annual shareholding offer to eligible MWH employees around the world is always exciting.
“However, the offer has special significance in Fiji, where the ratio of local vs. expatriate staff continues to grow, and where our work goes beyond completing projects to build a lasting legacy in terms of skills, the development of the engineering profession and opportunities for local businesses.”
Mike Rudge, the Fiji country manager for MWH Global says the new shareholdings mark a significant milestone for his office.
“Having spent the last two years championing the growth of Fiji through infrastructure development, it is very symbolic – and a great honour – for MWH to be able to offer our Fiji staff the opportunity to be a more permanent part of our worldwide operation,” he says.
“So much of the work that we are doing in Fiji is about helping the country to become better connected to itself and to the rest of the world – through ideas, through access, through innovative approaches to solving transport problems, and through making it possible for more people to get around in a way that is safer and easier.”
“As each year goes by, more Fiji staff will become eligible to be shareholders as their two year anniversary and the annual shareholding date fall due. We very much look forward to the percentage of local shareholders in Fiji increasing, and to many more years of supporting Fiji as it continues on the incredible journey of growth and change it is on,” says Mr Rudge.
Elina Kelepi, a project management assistant who has been with MWH in Fiji for two years, is excited to be one of the new shareholders.
“I’m thrilled to be able to buy shares from a global company; I’ve worked in other companies over the years but never had an opportunity like this. To me, the great thing about it is that I’m able to participate in, and benefit from, its future growth.”
For the construction contracts manager Ravindra Pillay, the share purchase signifies a long-term commitment at a number of levels.
“It is symbolic of MWH’s commitment to Fiji to be here for the long haul, to create a viable and sustainable transportation industry and to have as many local people contributing to the sector as possible. As a manager you are driven at different levels to operate, inspire and motivate, and to give confidence for the future.
Shareholding and ownership in a consultancy like MWH certainly drives a momentum shift in the way the industry consultancy model operates in Fiji.
It sends strong intentions and the right messages to local staff, and gives them confidence that there are opportunities to grow and develop in the long term.”
Josefa Vueti, a CAD design team leader, says he looked long and hard into deciding where to invest his money before committing to his employer.
“It’s a global company doing lots of good around the world and getting good outcomes and raising the standard of infrastructure. I’m proud to be a part of that.”
The other two new local shareholders are senior road and construction engineer Atunaisa Nayago, and planning manager Rimal Karan.
The new local shareholders were recognised at an event on Tuesday, 25 November held at the Holiday Inn, Suva, where The Hon Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Pio Tikoduadua, spoke.