Engineers’ plan in the works
WHEN 2018 ROLLS AROUND, engineers Ryan Brathwaite and Rowmell Grosvenor hope to have achieved all the goals on their five-year plan.
Although the young businessmen and friends cannot see into the future, they are following their plan as they seek to make their mark in the world of engineering, specifically geomatics, building and construction, and landscaping.
Brathwaite told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that GB GeoEngineering was started in October 2013, followed by GB Design and Build and later GB Greens and they are all part of the plan they developed when they decided to go into business together.
“We started typically straight out of school. We studied in Trinidad at St Augustine [Campus University of the West Indies]. We were both members of the same hall of residence, so we would have had a pretty good relationship.
“I was approached by someone who was doing a project for the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and they needed my services, and based on what my scope of work was at the time, I decided that Rowmell would have been the best person to work along with me,” Brathwaite said.
He added that they worked together between February and October 2013, and after he realised the partnership was a viable one, they moved to formalise it.
Over the last two years, like other small businesses, they have faced their challenges but are not deterred. What they offer, explained Brathwaite, was a specific set of skills in the area of engineering which were used during the BWA project.
Phase One saw them conducting a substructure survey and mapping all of the state agency’s old water mains so see if there were “any utility conflicts” crossing the water mains ahead of Phase Two, which involved the replacing of the mains.
They helped to design the new boot for the mains which were laid using “horizontal directional drilling” which minimised the need to dig up the road.
“We integrated all of the information into what we call a geographical information system helping us to plan for Phase Two of the project which was implemented this year . . . . We would actually have used drilling technology to go underneath the ground to install the mains and that’s where we came in. We did all of the calculations to make sure the new main doesn’t damage any infrastructure,” he explained.
“This is hardcore geomatics stuff that isn’t widely practised in Barbados, but the BWA project was an opportunity for us to use our expertise. We also do land surveying, but we’re more into contruction or engineering surveying, geographical information systems.
“Once there’s building, you will need an engineering surveyor,” Brathwaite said, adding they had not done land surveying yet because they have not acquired the requisite licence.
Noting that in a “couple more months” he will finish his law degree, the young businessman said their vision was “always to have a company that offers integrated construction solutions under one roof.
“We have the land surveying in one place, we also do architectural drafting, we have the construction in place and we have a landscaping business and then in a couple months I’ll be an attorney, so basically we can offer these integrated solutions . . . . My father was in construction for over 50 years and I would have grown up around that. Any knowledge that I would have gained over the years before I started studying would’ve come from him,” he said.
“The geomatics was a little more planned in the sense that I knew there was a niche for that in Barbados and the Caribbean . . . . Rowmell’s dad also has a construction company. The construction aspect of the business is really taking off as we mostly concentrate on small projects like renovations. In this area, we get to utilise our engineering skills as well.
“Landscaping falls more under Rowmell. It is a passion of his. We saw there were some opportunities, and from a business standpoint we recognised that landscaping kept revenue flowing.
“As a small business sometimes you have challenges with receivables. We had to find a creative way to generate that revenue and that’s when we thought about landscaping. It’s been going great since then,” said one of the Central Bank’s Billion Dollar Dreams competition finalists.
Their plan is to “achieve all of our goals from an economic standpoint” by the end of 2018, and then “actualise and try to acquire as much business as possible and build from there”. (Green Bananas Media)