Risk and Reward

Breakfast yesterday was at a TAFE presentation called Risk & Reward. The speaker was John Wagner, a senior family members of the Wagner Concrete Business.  Not usually up for a breakfast with Christmas in full flight at Dello Mano however, I couldn’t resist learning more about this concrete company’s latest project.

As widely covered in the press, John and the Wagner family undertook the most amazing project and built the new Toowoomba airport. Not only did they take it on, they funded it themselves and they were finished in 18 months. An incredible feat by anyone’s standard! If you have a chance to ever listen to one of the Wagners talk about the project then do yourself a real treat and stop and listen. Your heart will be rewarded with a most compelling story of courage, hope, sheer hard work and determination.

Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.

Chinese proverb

The Wagners have a large multinational Concrete business based in Toowoomba, Queensland. Apparently the second largest inland town in Australia and previously famous in my mind because it is the home of the passionate family food business –Weis Ice Cream (which by the way is real quality Ice Cream all made in Australia!)….oh and also the home of some amazing people and Dello Mano friends!

As the Wagner story goes, the owners figured a little while back that without connectivity to the rest of the world their international business would be stifled. With no interest from any other parties including government, they solved the connectivity problem by building and airport – themselves! No case study meant no bank fundingso they paid for the entire project themselves! Just some of the Toowoomba Airport project:

  • the only new airport built in Australia since Tullamarine
  • the most environmentally friendly airport built in the world
  • the fastest airport project ever built
  • thousands of jobs will be generated for the Toowoomba region
  • the only airport ever built in Australia without any government funding
  • the project was documented in late 2012 and the first flight took off in late Dec 2014 – a build time of 18 months!

You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little sidebets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything you have to play the game or you don’t play at all. And if you don’t play you can’t win”.

Judith McNaught

At an estimated $200 Million spend, the sheer tenacity and courage of the Wagner family is to be commended.  And we know from our own humble little experience when we set out to Pioneer (sorry about the Pioneer concrete pun!) the Brownie market in Australia, the real work only begins after the huge (….yes i know but it is all relative) risk and decision to actually start is taken. The Wagners now have the big task ahead of creating a business that will make the project a financial success.

Speaking of success, the concept of risk and reward is interesting. In terms of the enormous Wagner risk, the reward is surely there for all involved in their demonstration of amazing courage and passion. The reward is there too, for the many of us who have made the leap or want to make the leap to follow our own dreams and passion as we take example and inspiration from the Wagner story.

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