After taking time out to have two children, Holly Sharpe is returning to work at the controls of her earthmoving business’ excavators.
Owned and run with husband Phil, PHS Earthworks is a Lake Macquarie, New South Wales-based company performing all aspects of earthmoving, including civil construction, subdivision and mine work. The fledgling company was started only three years ago but, after partnering with Komatsu Australia for its excavator fleet, is growing steadily and expanding its services beyond its base into the Central Coast, Newcastle and Hunter Valley areas.
The couple bought a second-hand truck and three-tonne excavator and set to work drumming up business.
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“I had used Komatsu excavators in the past and was very happy with their performance,” said Mr Sharpe. “As soon as I could afford a bigger machine better-suited to the size of the jobs we were taking on, I got in touch with Komatsu.
“I did get quotes from other brands and Komatsu wasn’t the cheapest, but they have a really good name for performance and reliability in the industry and I had enjoyed my experiences operating their machines.
“I’m a big believer that you get what you pay for. I try to buy the best I can afford. That’s what ended up happening about 12 months ago with the PC45MR-3 excavator, which we optioned with a tilting hitch and rubber tracks.”
With business picking up according to the capabilities of PHS Earthworks’ growing Komatsu fleet, they started employing operators and Holly was keen to climb back into the cabin.
“With our business getting bigger it made sense for Holly to come back to work part time after the birth of our second child,” said Mr Sharpe. “It can be hard to find good operators who are also good people to be around and, naturally, she has the business’ best interests at heart because it’s her business, too.”
Ms Sharpe pointed out that being female is no barrier to being an excellent operator. “At the end of the day, I am just operating a machine that requires your head and hands and, to many peoples’ surprise, yes: women can do so just as well as men!
“It’s about time we start getting more women involved and support each other in traditionally male-dominant environments because there is no reason why women can’t do it. I’ve always said: ‘If someone else can do it, then so can I’. It just comes down to practice.
“I am proud of the fact that as a young mum I can work alongside my husband to operate and run a business in this industry.”
And how does she find the Komatsu excavators, as opposed to other heavy equipment she’s operated in the past?
“I love operating them. They’re beautiful machines. The power is good and the controls are smooth. They’re classy compared to some other brands. You can feel the quality in the cabin.”