Sustainability central to Hydroflux mission

Hydroflux was born out of a desire to make a difference in sustainability and climate change. Its trio of founders have worked tirelessly to achieve their goals and are pursuing future progress.

Hydroflux was born out of a desire to make a difference in sustainability and climate change. Its trio of founders have worked tirelessly to achieve their goals and are pursuing future progress.

“Our main goal was and remains to be part of the conversation around reversing the impacts of climate change. Everything we do here contributes to a healthier planet and communities. It was important for us to make that contribution.”

These are the words of Hydroflux chairman and co-founder John Koumoukelis. Working with fellow co-founders Andrew Miley and Adrian Minshull, the triumvirate of water experts have nearly 100 years of experience and passion in the water industry.

In talking to them, it is clear that Hydroflux is no ordinary water business. From the beginning, Koumoukelis, Miley and Minshull have worked to build and develop a privately owned Australian water company that makes a difference in the fight against climate change.

“When we started the company, we wanted to shift from an engineering business to a sustainability business.”

Having known each other since the 1990s, the three wanted to continue working together with the same mindset and focus on the projects they wanted to work on.

“We wanted to build a lot more than we had in the past. That meant getting into the design and construction of bioenergy plants, sludge drying, nutrient removal, remediation, and removing emerging pollutants. These are all things we hadn’t done much in the past. That’s what we wanted to get into,” said Miley.

What is unique about Hydroflux?

When they set up Hydroflux, the co-founders understood that different sectors had different needs. While there would be some carry-over across some sectors, individual clients would have specific needs unique to their industries.

“We have multiple businesses under the Hydroflux group of companies that are market-based,” said Koumoukelis. “Hydroflux Epco is dedicated to the municipal sector, representing potable water and sewage for towns, cities, resorts, or mining camps. Hydroflux Industrial manages water and wastewater associated with industries. That includes food, beverage, mining operations, pulp and paper, tunnelling, infrastructure, and manufacturing. Hydroflux Utilities focuses on aftermarket customer services, providing long-term support, service, and consumables where necessary.”

In addition, Cress Consulting offers a comprehensive range of sustainability consulting and advisory services to assist businesses in achieving a more sustainable and secure future, such as ESG, carbon accounting, decarbonisation strategies, climate risk assessments and water stewardship programs.

Understanding local markets key to progress

Each of these arms of Hydroflux has offices in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific run by local staff and local directors. Having locals operating their branches is a crucial point of difference for Hydroflux.

“Stuart Petersen was born and bred in Fiji. He runs our Pacific office and is a very hands-on person. We do significant work in Fiji, engaging local contractors we have partnered with for years. Understanding those local dynamics has been easy with the right people in place,” said Koumoukelis.

Paul Cobbin was another lead identified as an essential player in the Pacific Region. Cobbin has been working in Papua New Guinea for 30 years and mentoring young engineers from around the region. He’s since become CEO of Hydroflux Pacific. In the eyes of the founders, it builds on the positive relationships they have formed in the region over that time.

Having a female CEO and CFO is another point of difference that impacts Hydroflux’s ability to recruit more women into the business. With Julia Seddon as the CEO, Hydroflux shows they are serious about diversity and inclusion.

“We see gender balance at all levels as something we strive for as we believe it’s good for our people, clients and business,” said Miley.

What is the Hydroflux difference?

Hydroflux is proud of creating proprietary I.P. every year. That has come from understanding its clients within individual market sectors and developing solutions specifically for those customers. As part of the development of their IP, Hydroflux has developed exclusive partnerships with some of the world’s best businesses in a range of fields.

“There are about 15 partners worldwide that we are working with across several spaces,” said Miley. “One we are particularly excited about is the bioenergy business. It’s growing dramatically, and we are working with multiple partners around Europe because no one company has the complete solution. We can collaborate, providing different expertise to solve problems.”

“Hydroflux Epco customers tend to be water engineers that have a detailed understanding of what we offer,” said Koumoukelis. “Hydroflux Industrial customers are more focused on their specific industries.

“The biggest difference between Epco and Industrial customers is that industrial customers want the problem solved,” said Miley. “They are not particularly fussed about how the problem is solved; they want it solved. It’s a very different project management method from our Epco customers.”

Engagement a fundamental focus of Hydroflux

As part of its vision and mission, Hydroflux has always taken its climate responsibility seriously. In 2022, Hydroflux became Australia’s first water treatment and technology company to achieve Climate Active carbon neutral certification for its organisation and products. It knows that partnering with customers and clients is the most significant impact it can have in its journey.

Each stage of the product lifecycle has been assessed to ensure its products and services are climate safe. It involved a review of carbon emissions, identifying carbon reduction opportunities and a long-term commitment to addressing climate change challenges. There was engagement with their employees to achieve this goal, which has led to significant positive change.

“The engagement from staff has been outstanding. It made people love coming to work here,” said Koumoukelis. “Engaging and communicating with our staff gave them another spring in their step. It made the staff realise that we are serious about climate change.”

The engagement has seen several changes in behaviour and practice. The teams across Hydroflux have provided fantastic input and many ideas to improve and ensure the company keeps sustainability in mind.

“This is evidenced by our coffee pod and office recycling program through establishing a cross-functional, diverse internal team focused on improving the sustainability of everything we deliver. Being carbon-neutral is a great starting point in that process,” said Miley.

The future of Hydroflux

Koumoukelis and Miley are excited about the future of Hydroflux and the impact it will have by striving for its sustainability and climate change goals. Another area that particularly motivates them is the shift in the mentality of their clients.

“Many of our clients embrace resiliency as part of their business planning, both in the private and public sectors. It’s great to be part of that conversation and leading to expanded capabilities in bioenergy, renewable energy, water reuse, and protecting natural waterways,” said Koumoukelis.

Miley is enthused about the growth throughout the Pacific region. Hydroflux works with 28 water authorities throughout the region and is now involved in various bioenergy projects. He believes that is a massive opportunity.

“The other side is that we love seeing a new generation of water engineers being developed at Hydroflux,” said Koumoukelis. “It’s great to see where the graduates wind up in ten years. It’s always a joy to see them take control of a project, make a difference, and grow in their career path. I’m excited to see the next generation of water engineers come through. We’ve mentored them and done everything possible to support them. It’s always rewarding seeing people grow professionally in this space.”

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