Demand for healthier, more attractive buildings in the wake of the pandemic has seen biophilic engineers and landscapers Junglefy expand the business with a slew of key new hires. 

Offering a range of living infrastructure including green walls, roofs, facades and podiums, the company continues to work with major developers like Lendlease and Mirvac, as well as on government projects such as WestConnex. 

General manager since 2017, Suzie Barnett told The Fifth Estate the business had grown to now essentially have its own senior management team that could function independently of husband and wife founders Jock and Hanna Gammon.

New hires this week included taking on national sales and business development manager, Lesley Duke, to help expand the business and earlier in the year Rayon Abdul was appointed as the company’s first financial controller.

The appointment of David Wait as the head of operational delivery required a restructuring, but also allowed him to apply experience in horticulture and structural landscaping to the entire delivery side of the business. 

“He has run his own landscaping business. He has a building qualification. He has a horticultural qualification. So we actually created that role for him because you don’t come across people who tick all those boxes,” Ms Barnett said. 

Meanwhile, due to client demand, the business expanded its consultation offerings taking a more active role in the design and planning phase, headed by founder Jock Gammon alongside technical design officer, Lucila Castello who moved over from building materials firm Kingspan last month.

“So now we can do all that technical design in house and work alongside the landscape architect or on smaller jobs directly with the architects or even with a developer or owner,” Ms Barnett said. 

Demand is being supercharged by companies and landlords pursuing more greenery as a health and wellbeing measure, as well as a way of attracting staff back to offices. 

“We’ve been getting the business structured and ready for the upward swing in the market that we’re seeing from our sales cycle,” Barnett said.

“There was a lot of planning policies and government incentives that were starting to emerge pre-COVID, that I think have been implemented at the perfect time where everyone’s saying ‘we need more green cover, we need more access to nature and green space’.”

The company also gained a lot of traction with their green-roof solar comparison, conducted with Lendlease and UTS, which found that on average solar was three per cent more efficient when paired with a green roof.

“We’ve had a lot of inquiries about that,” Barnett said. 

The company didn’t by any means come out of Covid unscathed and in certain situations was unable to reach installations to conduct upkeep due to lockdowns. 

“There were some places we just couldn’t get access to because they were in a LGA hotspot or the facility manager just said ‘no’, legally we couldn’t go in there because it was a residential facility or something,” Barnett said.

“So we’ve got an enormous backlog now we’re really trying to catch up and help people get their plants back to better condition. There’s probably 10 per cent of our projects that are like that.”

At the same time, those locations that could be accessed were maintained, sometimes free of charge, to ensure when clients and customers could return to a happy, healthy workplace.

Ms Barnett, who was formerly executive director of the Green Building Council of Australia said providing a product that served a genuine purpose was what kept her coming back day in and day out.

“They’re creating biodiversity. They’re giving people that biophilic response that makes them feel calmer, happier, more connected, and  they’re seeing it change over time. And I think it’s really exciting,” she said. 

Our pick of the jobs 

Leader in creative reuse and circular economy education, Reverse Garbage is undergoing a major upheaval, moving to a new location in Sydney’s inner west where it intends to establish a “dynamic sustainability hub”.

The company is also seeking a new chief executive to steer the organisation into the next phase of its development, while managing the financial, administrative, operational and strategic direction.

It’s a big job, requiring a solid background of experience in business management, but offers the opportunity to greatly develop the community’s engagement with circular economy and make a positive difference in this growing field. 

Meanwhile, climate and energy risk management consultancy Energetics needs a business development specialist to help drive their agenda. 

The firm is looking for someone to help consultants win contracts with top ASX200 listed companies to guide emissions reductions. Required skills include the ability to “synthesise information, develop solutions and transform technical and strategic approaches into succinct, compelling pitch documents.”

It’s an opportunity to learn and absorb a broad range of sustainability strategies from emerging technologies to large-scale renewable energy purchasing.

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