After more than 55 years in the business, Director Neil Trevena shares the history of the local Trevena family business and his view of where the company is heading in the future.
“I began my apprenticeship under my father in the family business (B&E Trevena) in 1969, aged 16. After the completion of a five year apprenticeship, I received my Certificate of Craftsmanship in 1974. I have been registered as a plumber and gasfitter since March 1975, obtaining oxy welding licence in 1977 after a four year course at SMB. I gained my plumbing licence in August 1979, and refrigeration licence in June 1986 after four years at night school at RMIT Melbourne. In June 1996, I added to my licences, gaining my Electrical S Permit.”
“During my apprenticeship years, I worked on numerous projects at the University in Mount Helen, operating with my father from the rear shed at home in Magpie Street Ballarat East. From the shed, we manufactured our own ductwork, casing, etc., slowly expanding both equipment and expertise in sheet metal work.”
Working with most of the local builders of that time, Nolan’s, Feary’s, Bylsma’s, Weir’s, Nicholson’s, etc. in the Ballarat and surrounding areas, the company held project contracts with the Ballarat Base Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Geriatric Services, St John of God Hospital, Central Highlands Water, etc. but predominantly with the university alongside both Melbourne and Ballarat based builders.
1975 Premise Move
In 1975 my father moved our commercial premises from Magpie Street to Lot 5 Old Creswick Road, an existing residence with a shed at the rear ideal for the equipment now held by the business. Using the house garage as our office, we closed in the rear shed to establish a workshop and sheet metal processing area.
In 1980, my brother Robert joined us in the family business, now B&E Trevena & Sons. Robert brought drafting skills into the business and with his ability to forecast, the business soon began to expand, taking on more contracts and employing more staff.
As a result, the existing shed was extended, eventually becoming the building of new offices and enlargements of the existing floor space to accommodate more sheet metal equipment and tradesmen. It was not long after this that our father Bruce and mother Betty retired to Ballina, NSW, leaving myself and Rob to continue running the business. The partnership with my brother continued for another 10 years, with Rob taking care of office duties and myself out onsite managing the projects.
After five years into the partnership, the sheet metal part of the business was sold to Robert Fisher, who was running the workshop for us at the time. In 2003 my brother Rob retired and I carried on as sole Director with the assistance of then draftsman and estimator Mark Kinnersly.
With work commitments continuing to expand, the business began to undertake interstate projects and larger scope works, such as hospital and larger university developments.
Mark began to set up a maintenance arm of the business, employing refrigeration apprentices and looking after service call outs and dealing with all after project maintenance responsibilities.
New Office and Shed Expansion
In 2008-09, we decided to fully use the existing block at Old Creswick Road and after pulling down the existing house and building, established a new office and shed complex. Over a period of 36 months, the works were completed, with B&E Trevena & Sons now working out of a state of the art office space, boundary to boundary shed and workshop enclosure, and fully sealed and landscaped parking areas and loading bay.
The company now employed around 15 tradesmen, 3 draftsmen and an office secretary alongside myself and Mark. Around this time we decided to separate the install and maintenance businesses, resulting in the establishment of a new company called TPSAir (Trevena Property Services). Operating from separate business locations, the two companies assumed totally independent identities.
Mark is running TPSAir very successfully both within the Ballarat/Western District, as well as setting up and office and outlet within the greater Geelong precinct. TPSAir caters for all aspects of air conditioning maintenance and hospital essential services.
In 2015, after more than 55 years as B&E Trevena & Sons, our company is taking on a rejuvenated outlook, in both name and nature. Renamed Trevena Sustainable Heating & Cooling, our company not only caters to the larger commercial projects, but also is breaking into the expanding upper tier domestic market.
With the energetic team of draftsmen/estimators, project managers, office staff and tradesmen, I feel very confident in our continued growth and development into the future.”