40under40: Paul Claxton was just 24 and newly married when he founded his own business, with $5,000 of the startup capital part of a wedding gift.
Paul Claxton was just 24 and newly married when he founded his own business, with $5,000 of the startup capital part of a wedding gift.
Mr Claxton got his start in the workforce with A Class Pavers, where he spent five years before leaving to embark on his own business venture, Lightning Brick Pavers, in 2006.
It would be three years until he launched his next business under the Lightning Brick brand, Platinum Plant & Equipment Hire, and a further six years later before he added boutique civil construction outfit BOS Civil. In 2019, Mr Claxton founded bespoke technical product wholesale and manufacturing business Bautek Pavement Products, and last year acquired majority shareholding in stone masonry company Cortez Construction.
In his 15 years as a business owner, Mr Claxton has gone from a oneman paving business to a self-capitalised group of contracting companies with more than 50 full-time staff and construction giants Georgiou, BGC, and MultiPlex included among its top clients.
During this period, Lightning Brick Pavers has experienced sustained growth over a range of project types: from paving projects in the Pinjarra region to laying thousands of square metres of bespoke granite in Perth’s Yagan Square.
The company has facilitated the construction of several of the state’s major marquee projects, including Forrest Place, the Ritz Carlton, and Elizabeth Quay streetscapes.
Mr Claxton attributes that growth to the company’s commitment to the development of its employees, good governance, and an emphasis on safety.
The importance of attracting, nurturing and retaining talent was something Mr Claxton said he identified early on in his career.
He said the industry had a high burnout rate, particularly among younger technical workers, and was determined to build his company’s strengths around the industry’s weaknesses.
By this, he meant homing in on and rectifying the short-sighted lifecycle of transient, temporary, young or contract staff who were not being provided with avenues for professional development or wellbeing management.
Mr Claxton said one of his greatest achievements was launching the company’s Life Beyond Paving program, dedicated to offering employees a chance to improve and develop their skills and qualifications in a bid to ensure knowledge is retained within the industry.
He described the success of the program as a source of professional pride, with more than 40 per cent of the company’s employees having been part of the Lightning Brick group for more than five years.
The company has also implemented a wholly funded employee wellness, assistance and support scheme, with a fully equipped health and fitness facility installed at its head office.
Mr Claxton also devotes time to the Gidgestock Music Festival, which he founded in 2014 and to which he is a principal donor, with all profits going to the Leukaemia Foundation and West Gidgegannup Volunteer Fire Brigade.
Mr Claxton said he was excited about the company’s future and confident in its ability to attract, retain and develop the industry’s best talent.
He told Business News that the greatest highlight of his career had been watching his long-term staff flourish within the company and go on to hold lead management roles.
Paul Claxton was a 2021 40under40 First Amongst Equals finalist and the winner of the Medium Business category award.