In our latest 5 Minutes With… Tim Hansen of Hansen Engineering Group shares his challenges of being a small business owner, his hopes for the future growth of the business, and his advice for anyone about to embark on their own founder journey.
Tell us about yourself and Hansen Engineering.
I’m a civil/structural engineer with a background primarily in the infrastructure sector. I was born and raised in Townsville, studied engineering and physics at JCU, and I’ve worked as an engineer here most of my career.
Starting my own consulting firm was always in the back of my mind even as a fresh-faced graduate, it must have been in my blood as my father has run a small accounting practice for as long as I can remember. In late 2020 the stars aligned, and I finally took the plunge to found Hansen Engineering Group.
At first it was a part-time job to test the waters, doing small projects through word-of-mouth and referrals. Within a few months it grew to a full-time job and more, and today HEG employs five staff including myself.
Although we’re a small team we work on major projects. We provide civil and structural engineering design services to public and private clientele on things like roads, bridges, buildings, sewer, and water infrastructure – most of our work hides in plain sight!
What has been the most challenging aspect of starting/owning Hansen Engineering?
Can I say all of it? There are no easy aspects!
But seriously, if you ask any small business owner, they will tell you they wear a lot of hats and one of the things I find most challenging is balancing my duties as a business owner with keeping my engineering skills sharp.
I have a passion for engineering and love the work. I think I am most at peace when I’m given a complex problem to solve and I can get in the zone, so I find it hard to fully step away from the calculator. As the company has grown it has become easier to delegate or outsource certain components of my often-competing roles but it’s a constant balancing act and one that I don’t think I’ll ever truly solve
What is a fun fact about yourselves?
I’m a cricket tragic. You’ll catch me dressed as a ‘Gabbatrooper’ to open the Summer Test most years and I try to play in the Goldfield Ashes every year. I think I’ve only missed one or two tournaments in the past 15 years. I play for the Scott Minto XI, named after the greatest NRL player to ever grace the Cowboys change rooms (sorry JT). I can’t bat to save my life, but I can throw down some decent right-arm-over mediums and have been known to take a screamer on the boundary.
What is the best piece of career or business advice you have ever received?
There are two that stand out to me. “Never give up” was something my dad said to me when I went to him for advice once and it stuck with me. I repeat it to myself whenever I’ve had a bad week or a setback. It has taught me to back myself, trust my abilities, and forge my way forward.
The other was something I heard in a business podcast about leadership once that was essentially that leadership and management are different things, and you know you’re leading when you’re uncomfortable.
Going forward, what is next on the cards for Hansen Engineering?
HEG is still growing and there is so much opportunity in Townsville and North Queensland. I’d like to expand the civil side of the business in the next 12 months as I’ve spent the last year focused on the structural side. I’ve got my eye on a few new markets and clients that we’re hoping to expand into, but I’ll keep the details close to my chest.
In the long-term I’d like to take on a few business partners to ensure HEG is robust, stable, and less dependent on me as a sole Director. Even the great Shane Warne had Glenn McGrath holding up the other end.
For more information, follow Hansen Engineering via LinkedIn.
Read our recent post about Hansen Engineering Group achieving Carbon Neutral Status.
Main image – Tim Hansen, Managing Director of Hansen Engineering.
Images Credits – All images supplied.