Fulton Hogan founders to join business hall of fame

When Jules Fulton and Bob Hogan formed a small roading company in Otago in the 1930s, it was a brave move.

The pair, who both had young families to provide for, had lost their jobs with an asphalt company at the height of the Depression.

They took the opportunity to form their own quarrying and asphalt surfacing company, which has since grown to employ more than 5000 staff, working on civil infrastructure projects throughout New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Tonight, the achievements of Mr Fulton, who died in 1973, and Mr Hogan, who died in 1992, will be recognised when they are inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame during a gala dinner in Auckland.

Established in 1994 by the Young Enterprise Trust, the Hall of Fame recognised and celebrated individuals who had made a significant contribution to the economic and social development of New Zealand.

Bob Fulton, who is Fulton Hogan's chief operating officer New Zealand contracts, said the company - and the two families - were very proud of the acknowledgement.

While Mr Fulton, who is a grandson of Jules Fulton, had grown up with the story of the company, those who joined it did find it ''fairly remarkable'', he said.

Not only did Jules Fulton and Bob Hogan establish a business during the Depression - ''it must have been hard for everybody who lived in the Depression; we don't understand just how hard a place New Zealand was to live'' - but that was followed by the trials of operating a business through World War 2.

While they would have had their setbacks, they worked their way through some ''tough times'' and had ''good stickability'', Bob Fulton said.

He believed another secret to their success was how they complemented each other well with their respective skill sets.

They also had a rule that they did not submit a bid unless they had both agreed to it.

The strong family values, instilled by the pair, continued in the company today, he said.

All the family were proud of what they started.

While others had ''taken on the baton'' since, the pair were responsible for establishing it and they set a culture of the style of business they wanted to see and a lot of that culture existed today, Mr Fulton said.

While he suspected the two men would struggle with some of the bureaucracy involved today, he believed they would ''have a bit of a smile'' about the business, particularly given it provided for 5500 families.

Seven family members were involved in the business and the ''odd one or two'' did some work during university holidays.

The company's head office, originally in Fairfield, near Dunedin, was moved north to Christchurch in the early 2000s.

About 60 family members were expected to attend the Hall of Fame function at the Langham and Mr Fulton said it would be ''a good catch-up, a bit like a family wedding''.

Jim Fulton, son of Jules Fulton, and Hanlin Johnstone, grandson of Bob Hogan, would stand in for the company's two founders.

New Zealanders were ''sometimes not great'' at celebrating success.

It was a good opportunity to celebrate not just Mr Fulton and Mr Hogan but also the other successful business leaders being inducted, Bob Fulton said.

''There's something nice about celebrating success rather than moaning about the problems of the world,'' he said.

The other laureates for 2014 are. -Sir Graeme Avery (publishing, food and wine, sport), the late Sir David Henry (forestry and wood processing), the late James McAlpine (refrigeration), Sir Ralph Norris, Don Rowlands and Lady Adrienne Stewart, all for leadership and governance.

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