“Steel in his veins”: Ken Hainsworth celebrates 50 years with Fletcher Building

Above: Ken is congratulated by Mark Malpass (CE Infrastructure Products Division) and Marc Hainen (GM, Easysteel)
Ken Hainsworth, Easysteel Business Development Manager, recently celebrated a milestone of 50 years with Fletcher Building.
During his time with the company, Ken has worked for both the Winstone Aggregates Steel Division and Easysteel (formerly Fletcher Steel), working his way up from a dispatch role at age 15, pre-computers, where he handwrote orders for truck drivers collecting steel for delivery. In the late 1980s, he was recruited to Easysteel, where he’s had a stint in probably every sales role the company has had to offer, including Sales Supervisor, Territory Sales Manager, Auckland Sales Manager, national product training roles, Export and Business Development Manager.
When he was 15, Ken had envisaged becoming either a fitter or a turner. He told his father, (at the time, an employee of Winstone Aggregates), who said he’d speak to a colleague about how to go about training. Instead, he was told of a junior position at Winstones that might be suitable, and 50 years on, Ken is still hard at work.
A born salesman, Ken says he loves the thrill of a negotiation, and the feeling of pushing a sale over the line. Based on his own conservative calculations, he estimates that he has sold between 180,000 and 200,000 tons of steel over the past 50 years. This equates to between $270 and $300 million dollars of sales, which Ken puts down to having a holistic market overview and developing good client relationships.
Many of the clients I had for 20 or 30 years have now retired, and now I deal with their children, who have taken on the business. It just goes to show there’s a lot of business value in building good relationships with people and going out of your way to get the job done”.
A particular career highlight includes coordinating the steel supply for the Auckland Sky Tower in conjunction with subcontractor Grayson Engineering. Five and a half thousand tonnes of Structural Grade 350 beams went into the construction of the Sky Tower, as well as 5,000 tonnes of reinforcing. Before the tower was finished, Ken was offered the “opportunity of a lifetime”, to climb 1100 feet (ladders all the way) up to the first spear.
Other highlights include involvement with the construction of Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium, Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium and the Mangere Watercare project, a job that involved the largest one-off indent order shipment of structural steel beams (2,400 tonnes) to New Zealand to date.
Currently, Ken is excited to be involved with the procurement of just over 1000 tonnes of structural steel for the University of Auckland’s new science block, a Fletcher Construction project worth $140 million.
I’m proud to say I work for Fletcher Building. I still buy shares! I have a passion for the steel industry – I have (rusty!) steel in my veins. This is a great company, I have been offered continual development and different challenges. I never felt the need to look elsewhere, even though I was approached on a couple of occasions.”


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