Shoalhaven Economic Development
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Featured Business of the Month - Edmiston Jones

There is nothing more important to architectural firm Edmiston Jones than being part of the Shoalhaven community. Established 35 years ago, the company is proud of its community connections and is a staunch supporter of business in the thriving Shoalhaven region. As an architectural firm carrying out local, metropolitan and international business, Edmiston Jones is proudly Shoalhaven and Director Steve Bayer can’t imagine working or living anywhere else. “I would say to anyone to come down – there is nothing to stop you setting up a fantastic business in the Shoalhaven,” he said. “We have certainly done that, we did it a long time ago and have maintained the business for 35 years without any issues at all. It’s great for business, it is a beautiful place to live, a beautiful place to work and play at the same time.”

Fellow director Mark Jones established the business as a South Coast agency for a Sydney-based business and both he and Steve are shameless advocates for living and working in regional areas. “I grew up in Albury and Mark in Cooma – we’re country boys at heart,” Steve said. Steve came to Nowra for practical experience during his architectural studies in 1986, met his future wife and his Shoalhaven connection was cemented. “The benefit of working in a regional area is we are able to work on a variety of projects, from residential projects to commercial development,” he said. “We are familiar with the way regional communities integrate, collaborate and do business and that’s the thrust of our business, to stay in regional areas.” While the company does work around Australia, its main focus is on the South Coast, Wollongong and inland to Albury. In the early days Edmiston Jones worked with local councils on community centres and now works on projects as diverse as Muddy Puddles, a therapy and education centre in Batemans Bay for young people with a disability, and the $84 million Parq on Flinders development in Wollongong. Steve said being embedded in the local community was intrinsic to the way the company worked. “We want to be connected, we collaborate with the community and we are considered in the local community. There is no technological reason why we can’t operate a successful business here and we do that. It allows us to give back to the community whilst we operate a business.” Steve said the Shoalhaven was strongly supportive of business, and cited the Shoalhaven Professional Business Association (SPBA) as a perfect example of that support. The association was established nine years ago by professional business people to deal with issues that are more prevalent in regional areas, such as attracting professional staff. Once people arrive in the region, the SPBA offers support and professional development, even extending to helping find work for partners of newcomers to the region.

For the past five years, SPBA has run a Young Mentors program, in which young professionals are matched with, and mentored by, experienced businesspeople in like fields. Another program, now in its second year, is the Compass Executive Leadership program, where business owners, managers and leaders identify the training they require and are introduced to professionals in those areas. “We are lucky enough to have some wonderful business leaders in the Shoalhaven,” Steve said. “We have MPs and politicians donate their time and provide leadership to mentor, guide and provide leadership to these people – you just can’t get that sort of exposure and experience elsewhere.” Steve would not hesitate to recommend the Shoalhaven as a base for any business and said the work/lifestyle balance was ideal. “One of the benefits of being down here is I live about 10 minutes out of town on a rural property. You might have to travel further distances here than in an urban area but it takes less time to get anywhere. It’s very practical to get to site visits or meetings. “The environment is fantastic, whether it’s the mountains or the ocean. There are all sorts of places to go to that are beautiful and we probably tend to take it a little bit for granted. “The region is a beautiful region to live in and that is why our business is located in the Shoalhaven.”

Steve Bayer, Edmiston Jones Director

 

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