He’s been a friendly face on numerous Ryman Healthcare construction sites for 15 years and today the team gathered to celebrate Gary Cox’s impressive achievement.
Regional Construction Manager Dave Gibson surprised Gary, affectionately known as Coxy, at the prestart meeting on site with a giftbox and letter of appreciation which had been sent up from Head Office.
Dave and Coxy have enjoyed a successful working relationship for most of those 15 years and so it was most fitting that Dave be the one to congratulate Coxy as he handed the goodies over.
“Ryman very much appreciates the effort you’ve put in to helping villages get built,” he said, confirming that Coxy was now Ryman’s longest-serving project manager.
“It’s been 15 fine years, thank you very much. I haven’t aged a bit, at all,” Coxy laughed.
He also paid tribute to his colleagues: “I appreciate my current team, it’s a pleasure working with you all. I feel humbled and honoured.”
Coxy’s long list of Ryman villages began in 2008 when he joined to work on Jane Mander Retirement Village, in his hometown of Whangārei.
A gift box for Gary Cox!
This was followed by stints at New Plymouth for Jean Sandel, Waikanae for Charles Fleming and Tauranga for Bob Owens.
Then it was down to Petone for Bob Scott and last year he finally completed Linda Jones in Flagstaff, Hamilton, one of Ryman’s biggest villages.
It was during that build that he really got to grips with what his role as project manager was about.
“I’m like a structural psychologist,” he said at the time. “I’ve got to get inside its head and visualize how A meets B and C.”
The role has also enabled a fair amount of personal growth too.
“If someone had said to me when I was backpacking around Europe that I would be doing this job now I would have laughed because I hated public speaking and yet that’s a lot of what I do now.
“When I first started doing our Toolboxes on health and safety I never used to sleep on a Monday night but now I don’t think anything of it.”
Now, the focus is on completing Patrick Hogan Retirement Village, Ryman’s 8.6 hectare site in Cambridge which will eventually comprise of 185 townhouses, 60 serviced apartments and an 80-bed care centre.
Four stages have now been finished, so 66 townhouses, and they’re laying down the slabs for the next stage now.
While he never believed he would be in the same job for 15 years at the start, the reason, he says, is simple.
“I love building, it’s the only thing I’m knowledgeable and passionate about.”