Growth Customer Experience Productivity Business IQ Trends Success Stories Tech Solutions Awards Business Tools Subscribe Tech Enquiry
Success Stories

Executive Risk Solutions: Emergency management - when danger is your business

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

A reliable mobile network can help Executive Risk Solutions save lives.

Scott Houston, a former Australian special forces (SAS) soldier with experience in Afghanistan, started Executive Risk Solutions (ERS) back in 2008 after a UK security company approached him to take on an emergency management and security contract. With its focus on providing security and mine rescue services to resource projects in remote areas, ERS is now a team of 110 spread across Perth, Port Hedland, Brisbane and Dubai.

“Our story transitioning from a start-up company to a $20 million a year company proves that with hard work and commitment anything is possible. My background in the SAS ensured I always approached every task with a ‘can-do’ attitude,” he says.

The business shifted into high gear in 2012 after it won a contract to supply services for the Roy Hill mine construction project in Western Australia’s Pilbara. Off the back of that, ERS picked up business with other mining sector giants including FMG, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

In 2015, ERS was named the Telstra Western Australian Medium Business and Telstra Australian Business of the Year, with judges particularly impressed at how the ERS team combined their specialised expertise in emergency management, response and rescue with a deep customer commitment.

“The spirit and diversity of the business has to be applauded,” says Will Irving, group general manager of Telstra Business.

“It rode the mining boom when the business began and it has continually focused on growth opportunities, leveraging its skills into large customers across a range of industries.” 

scott houston standing in a testing area talking to trainees fighting fires

Calculated risk management

SAS soldiers are perceived as risk takers but Houston says that’s a myth. They actually plan missions meticulously and are extremely risk averse. And when it comes to calculating margins for error, few businesses need to be more circumspect than ERS. Terms such as “confined space rescue”, “hazardous spill” and “road crash rescue” are part of the daily vocabulary.Working as ERS staff do in remote and harsh environments, having dependable communication is essential.While large project sites usually use their own radio comms, the ERS team may be out of range on the road. This makes the extensive coverage of the Telstra Mobile Network a valuable resource for ERS mobiles, laptops and tablets.

 

Mobile coverage counts

Having mobile coverage is important to ERS. Houston explains: “We have the data dongles and we also still own two of the Telstra Yagi systems [antennae which boost the Telstra mobile and wireless broadband signal]. We had to put those in place to get data access into some of our remote locations.”

As well as radios, staff have ‘tough’ Telstra mobile phones and smartphones. “It’s one of the core things for us to ensure we do have lots of back-up for our communication, because if clients can’t contact us, there’s the potential for lives to be lost,” Houston explains.

ERS crew also carry satellite phones to use in mobile and radio black spots. However, Telstra’s mobile service is still incredibly useful in coverage areas.

“During cyclones and cloud cover, we find that our sat phones don’t work well. We find that the mobile phones work a lot better in cyclones, provided the towers are still up,” explains Houston.

According to Houston another feature of Telstra is “that they’re quick to respond to any outages.”

Does your workplace need more than the average mobile phone?

Read about Telstra Tough Max.

Find out more

Putting people first

Houston believes his people are at the core of his company’s success. “Our culture values people above all other things,” he explains.

“In a highly competitive market, we have focused on delivering a more professional service than our competitors. Our main competitive advantage comes from our selection of staff … Our investment in sending key personnel to the US for training each year has opened new doors for us in the oil and gas industry and port facilities.”

In 2014, ERS further bolstered its credentials with a slew of international ISO certifications in quality, environment, and health and safety, clearly showing clients the very high standards ERS sets itself.

But ERS is not only about the people; there’s also the equipment. “Our people have been equipped with the latest in innovative appliances,” notes Houston.

For example, the company’s rapid intervention vehicles have the latest compressed-air fire-fighting systems, which use very little water so are ideal for Western Australia’s dry conditions.

Meeting client expectations is the best thing you can do for your brand, Houston declares. If you’re dealing with contract managers, he says, “over-deliver” so they’re the ones getting the pat on the back from their seniors.

“We have two rules as a company that applies to guys on the ground all the way to senior managers – make it easy for the client and make the client look good.” 

Know an inspiring business?

Nominate them for the next Telstra Business Awards here.

Find out more

2015 Telstra Australian Business of the Year & 2015 Telstra Medium Business of the Year

Dave Macdonald and Annette Kaitinis of Scoot Boot
Growth
Growth
Annette Kaitinis: growing a business means knowing when to trot, canter, and gallop

Annette Kaitinis and Dave Macdonald have taken their small business with a big idea from Tasmania to the world. After just four short years, they're reaching international mark...

Charmaine Saunders of Mainie in store holding a traditional Indigenous-inspired garment.
Growth
Growth
Culture meets commerce: These Indigenous businesses are embracing both

These four Indigenous businesses – NAISDA, Purple House, Bush Medijina, and Mainie – combine commerce and culture. Find out how business works for people by Telstra Smarter Bus...

A photo of a woman from behind working at an office desk
Business IQ
Business IQ
How to empower staff and protect data security

Your cyber security is only as strong as its weakest link and that weak link is often the human element. Cyber security is a human problem. That’s why it is critical to invest...

A large amount of multi-coloured post-it notes lying in a large pile on a white floor.
Productivity
Productivity
How to multi-task and do what matters

As a busy business owner, it’s tempting to try juggling all the balls at once in order to get things done. But using the right technologies and processes – not constantly multi...