10 Years & Counting!
The company moved from strength to strength progressing from domestic projects and minor works to becoming sub-contractors on major builds very quickly. Across 2007 and 2009, Koala secured contracts on the Rock Gardens, Atlantic Suites and King’s Bastion developments and this helped to cement the growing acknowledgement that they were now a serious building firm capable of delivering what they promised. Lean times for the construction industry hit Gibraltar later than other places, but hit it did, and in the process saw several of the company’s competitors either leave the Rock or simply go bust. For the directors of Koala this was a pivotal moment, instead of perhaps playing it safe and downsizing, they decided to invest in developing and training a talented team that could push past the immediate limitations of the sector, ready for the boom they were confident would come. Gut instinct paid off. Having weathered the storm, Koala now sat poised as strong contenders to successfully tender for major construction projects as principal contractors. This was in no small part due to the helping hand of General Manager Francis Massetti and the rest of the team, who had been part of Patrick’s vision for the company’s advancement since his recruitment in 2011. This vision also bore fruit in the creation of Koala Designs Services (KDS) in 2012. Sister company to Koala, headed up by Jonas Stahl, KDS offers architectural design services and consultancy. Dove tailing expertly, KDS and Koala deliver a ‘one stop shop’ solution for their clients.
In the summer of 2013 the Koala family was dealt a heavy blow with the loss of their matriarch Clemence Cabezutto. Patrick describes this period as “a devastating time”. Clemence (whose working life had begun at the tender age of 12 and never showed signs of slowing) was a deeply loved and highly respected lady, not only by her family, friends and colleagues, but also by the wider business community.
Digging deep and forging on, Patrick and the family pulled together. Life continued and reflecting on the positives, the company was booming and continued to do so with the ongoing support of his brother Peter in developing the company further.
When the opportunity to compete for multi million pound projects could be seen on the horizon due to the current boom, Koala seized the day and wasted no time in inviting international construction company Bovis to partner with them into a joint venture. Having previously worked with Bovis on other projects, Patrick and the other directors felt confident that with the assistance of well-known industry specialist Alan Ridings as Operations Manager, this was destined to be the next step for Koala.
For Bovis, partnering with a capable Gibraltar based company that held all the highest industry certifications and ISO accreditations was a simple decision to make.
From humble beginnings, Koala has grown to count almost 25 key personnel in their immediate organisation and a further 80 tradesmen and labourers - effectively supporting over 100 families in the area. Patrick considers his colleagues as part of the family and is quick to mention how the success of the company is owing to the efforts of the whole team and thanks the industry partners for all their support along these years.
It is nice to reflect on the fact that it has grown from a basic ethos of tackling every project, whether big or small, with determination, skill, commitment and pride.