Business feature: Big Paw Civil

By: Steve Atkinson, Photography by: Phil Means

Big Paw Civil Ltd, have just added a new 14-tonne Hidromek HMK145LCSR to its contingent of excavators

The HMK140LCSR is leaving Hayden feeling less fatigued at the end of the day

Hayden and Briar Ogden’s aptly named company Big Paw Civil Ltd, have just added a new 14-tonne Hidromek HMK145LCSR to its contingent of excavators.

Briar and Hayden Ogden

Having recently celebrated their first year as a standalone business, Hayden and Briar are quickly making a name for themselves, thanks to a long association with the construction industry.

The new 14-tonne Hidromek HMK145LCSR

It doesn’t take long to figure out that although Big Paw Civil is a newcomer relatively speaking, co-owner Hayden has considerable insider experience, gained from work and management positions from a number of reputable past employers.

On the day Hayden speaks with us it is well past eight in the evening by the time Hayden has arrived home, having not long returned from working on a site where the company is installing three dams and a road to a hunting lodge.

"When you’re in a position like an earthworks manager, you lose that personal touch with the machinery and I really missed it, so eventually got myself back into something I love, which is operating," says Hayden.

Spending time contract operating filled that void, although eventually a decision was made to bite the bullet fully, setup a limited liability company and purchase equipment. This soon led to the company taking on additional staff to cope with the increasing workload.

"I get a lot of comments on the name of the business," Hayden says. "Back in the day my dad had Big Paw Security. After looking at different options, the obvious name soon came up and we named it Big Paw Civil in his memory – which is a nice fit for the industry we’re in."

Where Big Paw roams

Big Paw tackles primarily residential, rural and forestry work

Tackling primarily residential, commercial, rural and forestry work, the Big Paw stamp can be seen on earthworks sites from Whanganui, across to Taihape, and as far south as Wellington – essentially, most areas on the western side of the lower North Island.

"We have the capability to handle it all," says Hayden. "There’s not much that I haven’t done or experienced, so that helps us when looking at the different jobs or situations we need to place the machines."

To date, along with ancillary equipment, three mini excavators plus the new Hidromek and five staff work in the business. Briar heads up the administration and work allocation side of the company, enabling Hayden to be out on the tools.

"Having Briar look after the admin side enables me to be hands-on and work alongside my team when I can. This helps speed up any decision-making process and gives the client comfort in knowing I am often close at hand."

Decision to buy Hidromek

Hayden is confident the machine is right for their needs

The earlier-mentioned hunting lodge job is typical of the varied assignments being undertaken by Big Paw and the long hours behind the controls one reason the decision was made to purchase a new Hidromek excavator.

Hayden says he never initially intended to purchase a Hidromek excavator, as his knowledge of the brand was limited. It wasn’t until he was called out on a social media post, that he got to see a machine in the flesh and able to make a more informed evaluation.

"They’re not the cheapest machines out there, but walking around the [demonstration] machine, you could see from the solid panels and Japanese-made engine and pumps, that they are a quality build with easily obtained generic running gear," Hayden says.

"Once I got inside behind the controls, I could see what others were talking about – the comfort for a big six-foot three guy like me was far superior to what I have experienced in the past with other brands," he says. "I had to admit, that for me, the Hidromek was hard to fault."

Hayden says the Hidromek is hard to fault

Out in the field, Hayden says the long hours pass with relative ease and operating the HMK145LCSR is leaving him feeling less fatigued at the end of the day.

The cab is super comfortable

"If you’re behind the controls of any machine for long periods of time, comfort, power and ease of operation is critical to ensuring the job is carried out efficiently and to the specs required by the client," Hayden says. "I’m confident that we’ve purchased the right machine for our needs."

Valued client

Purchasing the new excavator was a straightforward process

Purchasing the new excavator was a straightforward process and one that Hayden says makes him feel like a valued client of New Zealand Hidromek distributor Magnum Equipment.

"Don’t even talk to me about some of the other brands," says Hayden. "One dealer never rang me back and another still owes me jackets." "I found Magnum [Equipment] absolutely awesome to deal with. Any issue that I want to discuss is quickly sorted and this gives me confidence in the brand and people behind it.

Even the company owner texts me regularly to see how the machine is performing, which I have never had before."

Magnum Equipment founder and director Liam Field responds: "Have you seen the size of Hayden? He’s a massive guy who has a personality as large as himself. The excavator he purchased is one of many we’ve sold, and I try to put in calls to all the owners, so that the feedback I pass across to the Hidromek manufacturer is direct first-hand information. This is how we will ensure the brand remains a high-quality excavation product for New Zealand buyers.

Into the future

Hayden says his and Briar’s vision is on the future and having an eye-catching marque of excavator represent Big Paw Civil will help the business become more recognisable.

"We’re looking to grow the business, but I want us to maintain a size where I am able to continue being behind the controls of machinery as much as possible," says Hayden.
Behind the controls of a Hidromek excavator sounds like the place Hayden is currently the most comfortable, it seems.

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