Wholly owned by Ngarliyarndu Bindirri Aboriginal Corporation, Brida started in 1974 as Ieramagardu Gardening, an operation set up by indigenous lawmen and station hands who were not content to miss out on the opportunities that came with local industry. Fast forward 46 years, and its 146 staff members, 65 per cent of whom are Aboriginal, provide services in grounds and infrastructure maintenance, cleaning, waste management and plant hire.

Along with being a qualified tier-one contractor to Rio Tinto, Brida is also a grounds contractor to Woodside.

At Brida, there is a major focus on encouraging staff to start their own leadership journey and to assist all staff in growing professionally, with leadership programs implemented internally. Staff feedback on leadership development has been included as a critical input for business planning.

Brida Chair David Walker, a Senior Ngarluma Elder, said Brida was walking in the footsteps of its founders, with the Pinnacle Award showcasing the organisation as the best of the best.

“In terms of what it means to Brida, it’s about recognising and bringing honour and pride to the Old People who started the company 46 years ago,” he said.

Brida General Manager Francois Langlois said it was an honour to have been recognised by AIM WA.

“The Pinnacle Awards are very important and prestigious awards in Western Australia,” he said. “It feels pretty special to be part of this organisation.”

Mr Langlois said everyone involved in the business was proud of the work being done. “The teams consistently achieve over 97 per cent in their key performance indicators month after month,” he said.

Underscoring this performance, according to Mr Langlois, are Brida’s employee-centric values, which led it to add its cleaning services to its ranks in 2016.

“The reason for the expansion was to provide employment opportunities for all the partners and family members of those working in our ground maintenance teams,” he said.

This growth brought with it more cause for celebration when in December 2018 the organisation reached 13,000 onsite hours worked every month, a milestone which did nothing to hamper its commitment to safety.

“Brida reached an amazing milestone of having 500,000 hours without a lost-time injury,” Mr Langlois said. “It was a huge milestone for us knowing we had 146 staff on the ground working with all the equipment every day without a lost-time injury.

Acknowledging the impact the company had on its employee’s lives, Mr Walker said Brida had a family culture which led to a low turnover rate of less than three per cent, with those staff who did leave doing so for bigger and better roles.

“The next phase for Brida, is KBSSBRIDA,” he said. “KBSSBRIDA was formed by Brida and KBSS Engineering to enable trade apprenticeships for Brida employees, their families and the local people.

“It’s a long-term plan for the Brida family and will help strengthen the business in the future.”

Brida nominated the Ngarliyarndu Bindirri Aboriginal Corporation for the $20,000 training prize associated with its Pinnacle Award, and Mr Langlois said it would provide significant benefits.

“To be able to further support the corporation in the work they do supporting the Roebourne community will be fantastic,” he said.

“It will enable staff in the corporation to get trained up, so local Aboriginal people who are currently engaged and working for Ngarliyarndu will be able to benefit from the training and further enhance and empower the local community.”

Greta Andrews-Taylor is a Journalist at The West Australia and is a writer for 'Leader', AIM WA's magazine for members.