Business Central December 2021

| 27 Adapting quickly to change is vital T Richard Loader The He Ara Kotahi Walk and Cycle Bridge is a shining example of the creative and architectural lighting undertaken by the company. “The project was challenging because of the bridge’s design and the logistics of working over water, but the results are quite spectacular.” Rangitikei: Downs Group REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Coombe Smith Rangitikei Limited Chartered Accountants WE CATER FOR ALL YOUR BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL NEEDS For accounting advice contact: John Furness Mark Chamberlain ELECTRIC MOTORS AND PUMPS 0800 800 243 Specialists in Electric Motors, Water Pumps andWater ltration CEG are proud to be associated with Alf Downs Group Proudly New Zealand owned and operated for over 50 years T racing its ancestry back seven decades, The Downs Group is deeply proud of its Rangitikei heritage. While today the umbrella company encom- passes a diverse but interrelated set of busi- nesses, its foundation was established in 1953 by Alf Downs, a local linesman who became an electrician. After putting most of the overhead power lines up around the local area, Alf went on to bring power to the houses. After serving his apprenticeship with his father, Kelvin Downs continued the family business, taking it over in the early ‘80s when Alf retired. Robert Gunn, who had also served his ap- prenticeship with Alf joined Kelvin as a partner in 1990, and with his wife Sandra took over the business a decade later. Throughout its long history in the Rangitikei, diversification and the ability to quickly adapt to changes in the market place and region has been the heart of the company’s success. In 1996, the company then known as Alf Downs & Son Limited became the first private- ly owned company in New Zealand to contract to a local authority carrying out street lighting maintenance “We ended up with thirteen street lighting contracts but overtime we have pared that back to three,” says Robert. “We’re still heavily involved in lighting but it is more architectural lighting, like the walking bridge in Palmerston North that we completed in 2019.” Spanning 200 metres across the Manawatu River, the He Ara Kotahi Walk and Cycle Bridge is a shining example of the creative and archi- tectural lighting undertaken by the company. “After the bridge was completed we were engaged by the Council to design a lighting concept for the bridge using LED strip lighting and do the installation. “The project was challenging because of the bridge’s design, the logistics of working over water and the dramatic effect that was re- quired, but the results are quite spectacular.” The Downs Group’s diverse range of businesses include; Alf Downs Street Lighting, Alf Downs Contracting, ADS Lines, Alf Downs Appliances, ADG Mechanical, Rangitikei Water Centre and Downs Environmental. Looking after councils, industrial/commer- cial businesses, farmers and its core residen- tial customers, Robert says the company’s offering includes anything to do with electrici- ty, automation and mechanical services. Throughout its journey, the company in its many forms has been based in Marton — which Robert refers to as The City of Rangitkei. “It’s finally our time. In the last eighteen months Marton has just blossomed. We have two new subdivisions being developed, one with eighty new houses going in and the other with fifteen. “People have finally found us and there is industry that used to be here that left and is slowly returning. They have discovered that Marton is a hidden jewel. “The great thing is that businesses like ours and many others in the area are able to con- tribute to Rangitikei’s growth. “Many of those businesses have struggled for a long time and now they are actually start- ing to reap some benefits. “The council is really working hard for the district and we want to support it in anyway we can.” Pitt Island Base Power.