W.E. Smith Engineering plans to expand its operations to safeguard the Boambee-based company for the future.
W.E. Smith Engineering plans to expand its operations to safeguard the Boambee-based company for the future. Bruce Thomas/Coffs Coast Advocate

W.E. Smith Engineering plans for the future

EXPANDING its project portfolio is one of the ways W.E. Smith Engineering plans to grow operations at its Boambee manufacturing base.

The company produces heat exchange and supply equipment for the domestic and international markets. It's in the process of rebuilding since falling into voluntary administration last year.

W.E. Smith's operations manager Harlan Cooper said it was a period of adjustment from previous ownership by an international conglomerate whose resources overlaid the company.

"We have an industry that requires more and more of its suppliers to carry responsibility for large projects so it's about finding the people to work with who can assist with getting jobs off the ground," Mr Cooper said.

"As a local company that now supports itself our strength is that we have the people who have the ability to work around any situation and put in 110%."

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W.E. Smith's chief executive William Van Vliet said the company recently secured two contracts worth $11.9 million, with work due to start in coming weeks.

Mr Van Vliet said a new company - W.E. Smith Diversified - had also been formed to attract financial capital as the company diversified into new business areas including solar energy.

Developing new technologies for existing equipment also features heavily among plans, including new equipment to improve capabilities of heat exchangers, condensers and refineries.

The ground-breaking technology was recently trialled with Shell and is in the process of being patented.

The company's vice-president, Gregory A. Mann, said it was among the first steps in bringing new business to Coffs Harbour.

"We're the only company in Australia bidding on a major project worth tens of millions of dollars that guarantee jobs here for not just one year but three or four years," he said.

"The company's employees are doing an absolutely amazing job in the face of extreme market pressures and global competition.

"We want to be in Coffs Harbour and the only way is to keep winning work and doing what we do best."

Mr Van Vliet said the company was on the bidders' list of every major worldwide client and the value of the W.E. Smith brand would facilitate growth.