Around Townsville they’re calling it the Smurf – a big blue Komatsu excavator which has been painted to support a worthy cause – Beyond Blue. Every hour the machine works, its owner, fourth generation construction company RMS Engineering and Construction, is donating $2 to Beyond Blue. Over a full year, that should amount to more than $6,000.
“Beyond the money, the feeling of goodwill it provides to our own staff is substantial, and the visibility of Beyond Blue just might help the community,” Glen Langfeldt, RMS Operations Manager (Australia) said.
Beyond Blue, based in Victoria and begun by former premier Jeff Kennett in 2000, has become the country’s foremost non-profit organization addressing issues associated with depression, suicide, anxiety and other related mental disorders. “Often construction guys work away from home for long periods and it’s understandable they get a bit down in the dumps,” Glen said. “We thought we’d do something positive to show our support.”
RMS operates a fleet of six Komatsu excavators from offices in Townsville and Rockhampton on projects as far flung as East Timor and Vanuatu.
“Recently we brought back three excavators from a Vanuatu project and when it came to freshening them up for work in Far North Queensland, we thought why not take the opportunity to make one of them very special,” Glen said.
A PC88MR-8 with 4,500 hours was chosen to become the company’s Beyond Blue ‘ambassador.’ “It was quite a job painting it – there was a lot of yellow to cover up,” Glen said. The result has been a spectacular success and ‘The Smurf’ is hard at work on its first highly visible job on the Bruce Highway, just north of Townsville in Bluewater.
RMS has created a link on its website rmscivil.net.au so that people influenced by the excavator can make contact with Beyond Blue.
According to Beyond Blue, RMS’s Komatsu is definitely a one-off. “We’ve had people paint cranes and even trees – and for the trees we had to write a special protocol to make sure they weren’t harmed,” a spokesperson said. “They all add up to creating a lot of awareness and for that we’re truly grateful.”
RMS Construction and Engineering now employs more than 50 people, and according to Glen Langfeldt, hired from his long-term career in the Construction Industry by company owner Richard McDonald, it is experiencing strong growth.
We’ve had to put on 20 people in the last year and we’ve just taken delivery of another Komatsu excavator – a PC210LCi-10 – to keep up with demand in our government and private infrastructure projects.”