Meet Sanjesh Lal (the condensed bio)
After my university studies I worked as a Civil Engineer for ten years with some big-name companies. However, I got bored… the projects that dragged on year after year were getting tedious, and I wanted to build something ‘real’. And I wanted more challenges!
So in mid 2007, I started Keola. Alas, in late 2007 a global recession started. If I wanted a challenge, I sure got one! But I haven’t looked back since.
Sure, there are many challenges in this industry, but I love it. It keeps me entertained. I enjoy solving problems for my clients. I love having fun (life’s too short to live it boring!). And I especially love seeing the look on customers’ faces when their piece of land transforms into their dream home…
Keola has won several House of the Year Awards along the way. But the part I treasure the most is establishing good relationships with my clients – many of which have become good friends.
Sanjesh Lal is a:
- Chartered Professional Civil Engineer
- Registered Master Builder
- Licensed Building Practitioner
- Master Builder House of the Award Winner (2008, 2009)
… and Keola offers NZ’s Best New Home Guarantee
But that’s just the condensed version of my bio… there’s more!
Oh, you want the longer bio of Sanjesh Lal? You got it!
Meet Sanjesh Lal… The Egg Collector
Yep, it all started with an egg…
My dad was never a scrooge, but he just smiled when I asked him for some pocket money. I was only about 11 years old.
One afternoon, he arrived with seven newly hatched chicks and a bag of chicken feed. We spent the whole afternoon building a chicken coop. That, my friends, was my first construction project!
And my very first business was selling eggs.
Now that I had my own business, I was too ‘chicken’ to ever ask for pocket money again
Soon I came to know a lot about production and profit. My business was growing and I now had 19 hens.
However, the quality was suffering. I couldn’t keep up with collecting the eggs, and I didn’t have time to properly care for them. The eggs were piling up without being sold, and I wasn’t earning much. Some hens started getting diseased, and the disease quickly spread.
Before I knew it, I was down to four hens. My business had failed!
From this failure, I then learned a very important lesson in life
The lesson: you need to nurture and really care for what helps you earn your bread!
Fifteen dead hens later, I realised that I hadn’t provided adequate care and protection to my source of income. I realised that in future I’d need to take more care, and have more knowledge under my belt to be successful in business.
So off to University I went…
20+ years ago, I started my studies at Auckland University to become a Civil Engineer.
Not one to sit idle, I quickly became bored with monotonous study and within two years, decided to get out in the real world and improve on my seven dollars an hour part-time job at the airport.
The airport job seemed quite glamorous at first, as I saw the likes of Michael Jackson, U2 and numerous other celebrities arriving.
However, that was only attractive for six months, as pay increments were limited to 10 or 15 cents per hour. So I took flight to Fedex, the international express air freight company.
The work was enjoyable, but something was still lacking: I realised that I couldn’t get much further in life without a qualification.
So it was adios to happy travellers, and back into the slog of university study!
After graduating, my civil engineering career began
I started as a junior engineer working for an engineering consultancy called Fraser Thomas Ltd. The foundations for a career in civil engineering would soon be laid working under the stern hand of Gordon Cuthbert.
As a director, Gordon was a no-nonsense type of a guy, but an excellent engineer. He was very calm, collected and focused: he was the expert witness in many contractual cases. I learned a wealth of useful skills from Gordon.
From here, my career took me through various roles working for corporate companies. Well-known companies such as Harrison Grierson, City Design, Opus International and Barry Satchell Consultants.
My roles mainly focused on large-scale infrastructure, land development and commercial projects ranging in value from $15,000 to hundreds of millions of dollars.
This was a time of relationship-building
Many relationships were formed with Council personnel and various other consultants in just about every imaginable discipline. Unbeknown to me at the time, these relationships (and the knowledge gained) would become crucial in my decision to mould what would later become Keola.
But eventually the boredom set in again…
Ten years into my engineering consultancy career, the large, on-going projects that dragged on for year after year lost their appeal.
I wanted to be creative! I wanted to build stuff! I wanted to meet new people!
So in April 2007, I started Keola… just leading into the global recession!
A global recession… great timing to start a construction business, huh?
But actually, it didn’t faze me at all. I had years of building and development background and I was looking forward to the challenges ahead. Becoming a Registered Master Builder just seemed like the obvious next step.
The excitement of a new company, and the satisfaction of actually building something that was ‘real’ created the energy to drive the company to where it is today. Keola has even won some industry Awards along the way.
Awards are nice, for sure… but the best bit is working with great clients
For me, having a good working relationship with clients is a must. I guess that’s why many of my clients have become good friends!
After all, building a new home is no small undertaking. You’re going to spend hours and hours talking with your builder – so you’d better make sure you get on with the person you hire!
I know for sure that I’d rather hire someone at my frequency and be comfortable that we can work together. Happily.
And what you’re doing is special…
After all, not everyone will get the same opportunity as you to create their own home from zilch. I have built every house that I’ve lived in, and have absolutely loved the process of one’s own creativity taking shape in the form of a home. Imagine being able to point to something in your own home and say, ‘hey that was my idea’ with a smirky smile!
Would you like to experience that smirky smile yourself?
I’d love to help you build your dream home so you can enjoy the satisfaction that comes with it. And getting started is easy peasy.
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- Catch up with me for a coffee and words of advice – my favourite spot is The Block in Blockhouse Bay