b'A RE W EN AThey were tough times.I think in all honesty, wevegot Bob and Mike to thankthat were still around.We took a cut to keep the company going but we stillGames were also in the companys favour andup in the construction industry where, if youhad a job. They took a gamble helped to keep the construction market busy. didnt have a firm grasp of the cost structureto keep the company running, So the construction industry didnt reallyon every job, you couldnt control the to keep us employed. get hit until about 1990. And then it absolutelybusiness properly. collapsed; there was no work, says Mike.One of Bob and Mikes early learnings wasGEORGE LEEFEAll of the private sector work and thethat a subcontractor can make money from infrastructure projects dried up. It was aa main contractor that is organised, but not severe recession that saw everyone fightingfrom the ones that arent. It led them to cull for what business was left. Times werethose from their client list that were poorly tough, but because Dixon & Haddon hadmanaged and didnt pay their bills on time. implemented its strategy, it was picking up Dixon & Haddons profitability took quite a the majority of the remaining work.big jump when the pair took that approach.The perception was that Dixon & HaddonWe had Bobs acumen around structural was pricing too cheaply to be sustainable but,steel, and my business acumen and strengths in reality, the company had addressed that as a main contractorit was an alignment of by taking a business approach to its structure. the stars. We saw the collapse of a lot of steelAbove: A share market dealer shows the stress ofThe secret, says Mike, was knowing yourbusinesses during that period, says Mike. dealing with the fall in stock prices during hectic trading at the New Zealand Stock Exchange on 25 October, 1987.costs more or less weekly. He had grown Photo courtesy of the NZ Herald Archive.53'