Meet our General Manager Andrew Carroll

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During times like these, you want a leader who can steer your business through not only the highs but the lows — for Geelong Homes that leader is general manager Andrew Carroll. Andrew, a born and bred Geelong local, is seriously passionate about the region and the community who makes it.

Since joining Geelong Homes as general manager more than six years ago, Andrew has led Geelong Homes through a rebrand, a redesign and restructure of its personnel and procedures. The overhaul took Geelong Homes to the next level — introducing a paperless administrative system that has completely streamlined the business and remote connections to the database to allow administrative staff to work anywhere. It also set the business in good stead to tackle such challenges, such as the current global pandemic COVID-19.

But in addition to these changes, Andrew has firmly fixed Geelong Homes’ focus on staying local. To achieve this, under Andrew’s leadership Geelong Homes only hire local tradespeople and subcontractors, use local suppliers and throw support behind Geelong community groups and charities. And the benefits of this local focus flow on to the end result — quality homes built by Geelong Homes.

Who is Andrew Carroll?

Andrew has called Geelong home his entire life. Geelong born and bred, he comes from a farming family — his father was a wool classer and his brothers are farmers who specialise in merino wool.

Inspired by his own father’s hands-on line of work, Andrew chose a degree in Construction Management at Deakin University, Geelong Campus.

His first hands-on experience in the industry was when he worked as a part-time bricklayer’s labourer. It was an eye-opener for Andrew and allowed him to see first-hand what could be achieved within the industry with hard-work and an eye for quality.

“I began working for bricklayers who were really passionate about what they did,” he says.

“They’re the best brickies I’ve ever met. Quality was very important to them. It didn’t matter what sort of money they were making, they just wanted to do it right every time. Their attitudes and commitment rubbed off on me and helped me develop my passion for the construction industry.

As Andrew progressed through his study, he was given the opportunity in his fourth year of university to work part-time at Geelong Homes’ sister organisation, Hamlan, as an estimator. It led to a quick progression through the ranks at Hamlan. Andrew went from estimator to project administrator, then from a supervisor to a project manager. He left the business in 2001 and continued working on residential developments in Melbourne.

Andrew was enticed back to his hometown to work for another volume builder where he stayed for 10 years, first as a supervisor and then as construction manager.

In 2013 he became a building manager for Hamlan, but soon after, was promoted to general manager of both Geelong Homes and Hamlan.

Using local expertise

Andrew is dedicated to keeping Geelong Homes as local as possible, by employing and supporting local tradespeople to uphold Geelong Homes’ reputation as a “trusted local builder”. And some of these trades have been working with Geelong Homes for more than 20 years.

“I personally know every one of our subbies, which is one of the biggest advantages of our business compared to other volume builders,” Andrew says.

“It means that I can give a 100 percent commitment to our clients that we only employ trades that will work on our client’s homes like it’s their own.

“We have a sticker that goes on every single home that’s under construction that has the slogan: ‘treat this home as your own’.

“Our trades know that if you wouldn’t want it in your home, you wouldn’t do it to someone else’s.”

Local suppliers, quality products

In addition to nurturing the trust between Geelong Homes and its trades, Andrew is dedicated to maintaining the trust between Geelong Homes and its suppliers. What does this mean for clients? It means that clients can be confident that the Geelong Homes’ supply chain will get the right products and materials to their home.

“One of the value adds to building a home with us, is that we only put good quality products in our homes, and these products are supplied by local businesses,” Andrew says.

“We understand the investment, both emotionally and financially, our clients put into building a new home.

“That is why quality is one thing we won’t compromise on. We actively source the very best quality products and materials at an affordable price, so you can enjoy your home for years to come. For example part of our standard inclusion is quality carpet and underlay — we only use hessian-backed carpets opposed to cheaper quality carpets that may look good, but wear away very badly and often require replacement every five years.

“Many builders will say they put the best products in their homes but you’ll find these builders have a maintenance team who are there to complete the ongoing maintenance that their homes require. For us, we don’t need a team of maintenance specialists, we just have one person who can complete the work if it’s needed.”

It’s good to be home

Geelong Homes’ slogan is, “it’s good to home,” and for the team it’s more than words, it’s a feeling that all Geelong Homes clients should feel when they come home.

“We want Geelong Homes clients to be saying it’s good to be home when they first move into their home and continue saying this for the entire time they live there,” Andrew says.

“We’re all Geelong locals. We also all have connections with our community and value these connections.

“Whether it be that our kids attend the same schools as our clients’ kids, we play in the same sporting teams as our clients or we simply run into clients in the supermarket, when we see our clients within the community, we want to be confident they’re still happy and enjoying their Geelong Home. That’s really important to us.”

Strengthening the entire Geelong community

For Andrew, it’s not just about servicing Geelong Homes’ clients, but the greater Geelong community. Geelong Homes supports a number of community groups, including Bannockburn Football Club and the Colac Tigers Netball Club.

Geelong Homes’ biggest community initiative is its Pledge to River’s Gift. Geelong Homes made its pledge to raise the much-needed funds for the Geelong-based Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) charity, River’s Gift, after Andrew was reacquainted with an old friend Karl Waddell, the Director of River’s Gift. Together they realised that their organisations both shared passions for family and the Greater Geelong region, and a fundraising partnership was formed.

So, in February 2016, Geelong Homes completed the construction of a charity home in Ocean Grove. The home auction raised $130,000 for River’s Gift and kickstarted their journey to becoming a national charity that funds SIDS research that now has a global reach.

River’s Gift is also based in the same building as Geelong Homes head office and the partnership continues, with another charity home in the pipeline, set to be built in the new estate River’s Edge in Winchelsea.

“The beauty of building the first charity home for River’s GIft was how we all came together,” Andrew says.

“Seeing our subcontractors, who also happen to be parents, give their time to build the charity home and for such a great result was astounding. We hope we can replicate that result for this next charity home.”

In summary

At Geelong Homes, we live by the saying, “treat every home like it’s your own” and it’s a directive that has come straight from the top — from our general manager Andrew Carroll.

Since joining Geelong Homes more than six years ago, Andrew has led the business through a rebrand, a redesign and restructure of personnel and procedures. Systems that place us in good stead to tackle challenges such as the current COVID-19 global pandemic.

Geelong Homes continues to be a trusted local builder under his direction to keep Geelong Homes completely local — only hiring local tradespeople and subcontractors, and using quality products and materials from local suppliers. Andrew has gotten to know all of the subcontractors and suppliers Geelong Homes uses.

He has also played a part in forming some of our biggest community initiatives — including the Geelong Homes Pledge for River’s Gift. The initiative has led to some significant fundraising, including the proceeds of Geelong Home’s first charity home that raised $130,000 for the charity, which funds research into SIDS.

The Geelong Homes’ slogan is, “it’s good to home.” For Andrew and his team, it’s more than words, it’s a feeling that all Geelong Homes clients should feel when they come home.

“We want Geelong Homes clients to be saying it’s good to be home when they first move into their home and continue saying this for the entire time they live there,” Andrew says.

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