Talking to Stormtech Managing Director Troy Creighton, you’d think he’d just stumbled across the secret formula to creating and growing a successful drainage business. Technically, the business was started by his father, an accomplished concreter, who in 1989 identified a gap in the drainage market. The idea – to make an effective drain that also looked great – was brilliant in its simplicity. “He came up with the slot drain, and that became our first product. Shortly after that, we were down the pub having a chat, and he wanted to come up with a name, so I thought, well, it's storm water. And we're applying a new technology to it. So we joined the words, called it Stormtech, and the name stuck.”
But over the last 30-odd years, Troy has, through a mixture of hard work, conviction – and a bit of necessity - evolved Stormtech to be not only the leading manufacturer of architectural drainage solutions in the country, but one of the most sustainable businesses in the Australian construction industry. “We weren’t really intending to be sustainable,” says Troy in his typically modest style. “But by the nature of our very business, we're in a sustainable area dealing with water as a critical resource, and as a result we’ve build a culture of zero waste.”
“We're audited by Ernst and Young for our green tag certification - our waste is less than 0.1%, and that's basically cutting dust, which goes to landfill.” says Troy, “But everything else is reused and repurposed or reground and used to make new material.”
In fact, the journey of discovery in building a sustainable business has made Stormtech’s business more efficient. “I thought it was going to be a simple box ticking exercise to gain that recognition of our sustainable credentials. But when we actually went for true certification, the amount of knowledge that we had to have was far beyond what I had for my supply chain at the time. It’s about where we're sourcing our sustainable power, how we're handling product, waste, how far our trucks travel, what sort of trucks they are – it was a whole education in understanding my own business.”
And although he’s not coy about Stormtech’s position at the top of the sustainability pyramid, Troy welcomes more competition from the industry. “We’re the only sustainable drainage company in the world who has gone to the full effort, and I'd like to see someone else come in and compete with us on it. Businesses should see the it as an opportunity to really learn a bit about their business, and to understand what it is to be truly sustainable.”
Stormtech’s commitment to the manufacture of high-quality, locally manufactured products with zero (or almost zero) waste continues to resonate with the market, buoyed along by the company’s strong internal culture of sustainability. “We might have been sustainable by necessity originally, but it’s about the future of the world,” says Troy. “And if we can’t reduce, reuse and recycle then we’re heading to a landfill hell – and that’s not where we want to be.”
This article is a short summary of the Talking Architecture & Design Podcast episode 61. Listen to the full Podcast Episode with Troy Creighton here.