Growing up around construction sites it would have seemed inevitable that Hugh would head into the industry himself. However, he very nearly didn’t when he headed down to Canterbury intent on pursuing a career in farming. After a year of 4am starts on a dairy farm in Rakaia he realised it was the building aspects of the job he loved and headed back to Auckland to study engineering and a cadetship with Fulton Hogan.
Hugh discovered that he hadn’t left the early starts behind as he worked at Fulton Hogan gaining experience in a variety of construction disciplines. He even found himself the literal poster boy for their recruitment campaign. Eventually the family business came calling and Hugh moved into a project management role at ‘JCL’, apprenticing Malcolm for five years, before taking over leadership of the company now known as Johnstone Construction in 2013.
Hugh enjoys the challenges of construction project management and often applies lessons learnt from his time in the New Zealand Army Reserve Forces - leading multi-disciplined teams towards specific objectives and making sure everyone gets across the line safely is true of both his construction and army roles.
Growing the skills and experience of his team, providing them opportunities to take ownership and learn new things is very important to Hugh. He knows that you are only as good as the people you have around you and, like his father, makes sure to find the very best and ensure they have the very best experience working with him.