MIE grows from back of Morris to $5m company

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

AFTER starting out of the back of a Morris Minor about 30 years ago, Gladstone firm Murray Instrumentation and Electrical (MIE) yesterday sold for more than $5 million.

'It's certainly a big change,' was how managing director Stuart Murray described what the once small family company has done over the last 30 years.

Stuart's father, Doug, started the business as a one-man team.

It now employs 120 people and has become a leading electrical and instrumentation supplier in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

Stuart's mother Kay remembers better than most how the business got started, after her husband finished work on one of the Queensland Alumina expansions and '... had nothing else to do'.

'The expansion finished and the company he was working for left town, so he had to do something,' she said.

'We had a Morris Minor and Doug took the back seats out, put a tool box in, drove up to the front gate of QAL and said, 'hi I want to be a contractor', so yes it was a very modest beginning.'

Mrs Murray actually took over the reins of the business herself after her husband passed away in 1991, before Stuart carried on the family tradition and took it to the next level.

'I am so proud of what Stu-art did with it (the company),' she said.

MIE has worked on local projects such as the Comalco Alumina Refinery and QAL, but has also completed international projects in places such as Thailand, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

Speaking with The Observer yesterday Mr Murray put the growth of the company down to the family business ethos it was built on.

'I know it sounds corny, but I think it comes down to a committment to service,' he said.

'It is still very much a family business.'

Monadelphous managing director Rob Velletri said the acquisition of the local company would help them tap into the growing services sector. Monadelphous has also operated in Gladstone for about 25 years, working on the construction of many local industries.

Mr Velletri showed just how successful MIE had been in forging its success, by announcing the current management team would remain under the new ownership because of the job it had done in the past.

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