Apr 5, 2021

  • Asphalt Production
  • Business & Finance
  • People & Culture

The production of asphalt roads can be a long and winding science, full of pitstops and possibilities.

There’s the quarrying of the rock, and whether your aggregate should be made from granite, basalt, or another igneous rock. There’s the production process, which has advanced significantly in recent years with new recycling technologies and energy efficiency.

And there’s the laying of the road itself, with all the labour and machinery, the permits and regulations, that go into creating a hard-wearing road surface.

At the Citywide Asphalt Group, we’re lucky to have a production manager who has not only seen each of these processes first-hand, but has been in the driving seat of their execution.

Macmillen Mujuru had just completed an engineering degree at Deakin University when he joined Fulton Hogan as a graduate engineer in September 2018. He so impressed his seniors that two years later, at just 31, he was appointed production manager of the Citywide Asphalt Group (CAG), a joint venture between Citywide and Fulton Hogan.

Macmillen, or Mac as friends and colleagues call him, is proud to show off the fruits of his “deep vertical integration” in the Victorian asphalt business – which, in just two short years, included asphalt laying on new runways at Tullamarine, new lanes on the M80 Freeway, production and maintenance in Lara, Dandenong, Westall and Brooklyn, capital upgrades in Ballarat and Geelong, lab research in Dandenong – and quarrying and capital upgrades at Tynong and Tylden.

With so many new roads under construction, and a cutting-edge asphalt plant being developed in Laverton, I was able to travel around the business and experience a huge range of activities in a very short time,” says Mac. “I think I fully exercised every rotation possibility in the graduate program!”

With his wife Erica climbing the nursing ladder at his side, Mac was able to realise his personal ambition to learn every aspect of the asphalt business from the inside out. And he says, the CAG partnership made it possible to ride that corporate dream across the state, at his own pace.

“I was always made to feel that the company was right behind me,” he says. “Because we’re a small team, the work culture is really tight, like a secondary family. I don’t think anyone here ever feels like a number – everyone has a close relationship with their colleagues and managers. There’s genuine love and care between all the staff.”

“Mac has a lot of drive to make the business as successful as possible, but he’s always focused first and foremost on the welfare of his staff,” says CAG’s business development manager, Tim Ogun. “He’s got a great balance between getting results and looking after the human side of the business.”

Training across the business

Mac sees CAG’s focus on professional development as a bonus – one that he’s benefited from personally. “It’s very motivating,” he says. “If you want to get a particular trade ticket, or have some training in leadership or experience in the finance office, the bosses are happy for you to move around and experience different aspects of the business.”

Mac should know. In the two years he was on our graduate program, he moved from production to road laying, to quarrying to lab research to finance.

“I got an holistic view of the entire business. I liaised with VicRoads, learned about permits, about working alongside powerlines. I worked with asphalt crews and giant paving machines. I studied different rocks, their porosity and mineral properties. And I learned about the evolution of the business – how we can make asphalt with various recycled materials, the new cold-feed processes that dramatically reduce our environmental footprint.”

At Laverton, where Mac spends half his week, CAG last year opened its new asphalt plant using world-leading Marini technology, which utilises low-temperature milling to reprocess used asphalt, as well as creating ‘green mixes’ with recycled glass and plastics.

With lower temperatures, recycled materials and 100% renewable power, these processes produce cheaper asphalt with much lower emissions – a ‘win-win’ for VicRoads and a growing number of environmentally conscious councils.

As a new father, Mac is particularly proud of CAG’s role as an exemplary eco-citizen.

“It’s very exciting to be in this business right now,” he says. “We can be an ethical operator, and a great place to work, but it’s not much good unless we’re doing our bit for the planet.

"We need asphalt and concrete for all sorts of construction, but if we can recycle the materials we use and reduce the carbon emitted in our production, we’re giving ourselves the best chance for the future.

“With all the projects underway as part of Victoria’s Big Build, having a state-of-the-art plant and a research lab that can help our industry reduce its carbon footprint and produce high-quality asphalt from waste products, is going to deliver a major boon for our economy and our environment.”

Above photos: Mac (pictured left) with Asphalt Group GM Stephen McArthur at the Laverton plant

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Media Contact:
Simon Mossman - Group Corporate Communications 
M 0427 307 216