Gold Coast firm Mi Electric paves way for intelligent transport systems
Summary: A GOLD Coaster is making his mark around Queensland with a fully-charged electrical business that taps into growing demand for so-called “intelligent transport systems” (ITS).....
Yatala-based Mi Electric was started by ex-New Zealand Navy electrician Jason Morris in 2014.
Mr Morris made the jump across the ditch in 2007 after scoring a job with infrastructure maintenance and engineering company Tenix.
“Auckland is cold eh? I got sick of the weather so I packed up and moved over here,” he said.
“That was after seven years’ in the NZ Navy. I was electronics but I sub-branched into light weapons. I looked after all the anti-aircraft guns, torpedoes and all that stuff. I went to East Timor and the Solomon Islands on peacekeeping activities.”
Mr Morris said after working for Tenix and other companies, he began to see an opportunity to launch his own firm specialising in road lighting, traffic signals and ITS.
“I saw a gap in the market,” he said. “I wanted to work for myself. I could see where things were heading in the electrical industry. We were putting a lot of stuff in the ground a few years back. Running conduit cables in pits and such, and now we are using those same connections for housing fibre, cameras, and speed limit signs.”
Mr Morris said he first had to get “runs on the board” and did this through heading out west.
“We picked up a contract to do the only set of traffic lights in Nanango through contacts I had working in the industry for many years,” he said.
“We moved form Nanango to a project in Roma. We did the conduiting – civil electrical work – for an industrial estate out there. We spent three or four months out there.”
Mr Morris said the jobs, which required him to be away from his then-pregnant wife Mandy, were tough, but worth it to establish credibility for his fledging firm.
“I got out to Roma and India had just been born. That was difficult at the start. But, we had to get runs on the board, we had to get credibility, before we could come back into town and say we can build this or that.”
After moving out of his home base at Mermaid Waters to a serviced office in Bundall, Mr Morris picked up a significant project with the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Gympie.
“We managed to pick up some work with TMR around Gympie. We placed ourselves on a panel with TMR in the Wide Bay-Burnett region. We picked up a big project which ultimately led to us establishing an office in Bundaberg. That was in 2015.”
The company has been on a steady growth trajectory since then. Last year it moved from a strata unit in Yatala to a massive 1135sq m warehouse and 261sq m office in the same industrial suburb.
Mr Morris said he sees further growth in ITS.
“This is an emerging market. This is all the managed motorway systems, the speed limit signs, and the variable message signs. The CCTV – the closed circuit televisions that provide visibility back to the traffic management centres.”
Between November last year and February this year, Mi Electric installed two full-colour variable messages signs – one near the Sundale Bridge, and another near Tedder Ave, Main Beach, to convey information to motorists for the Commonwealth Games.
He said an expansion to NSW is on the cards next year.