At every local fundraiser or sporting event, there’s a company name that always seems to pop up. A Plus Contracting & Poly Welding.
When it comes to a business giving back to its local community you would be hard pressed to find one more generous then Branxton business, A Plus Contracting & Poly Welding.
Harry Meyn Foundation, Lifeline, Spectrum Autism, Sleapys Days, Variety Children’s Charity and Kids Xmas Party, Cancer Council, Camp Quality. The list just goes on and on. And we can’t forget the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. A Plus Contracting & Poly Welding has been naming rights sponsor for their Charity Rugby League Knockout Day since its inception and will carry on supporting it under their new Oz Tag format this year.
Then there’s the sporting organisations. Maitland Pickers Rugby League, Kurri Kurri Rugby League, East Maitland Griffins, Branxton Soccer, Tenambit Morpeth Cricket, Singleton Rugby League, Greta Branxton Colts and Branxton Swim Club to name a few.
But while it’s the company name you will see on the sporting jerseys and the Go Fund me pages and sponsorship lists, it’s really the man behind the business that we should thank. Andrew Hughes.
Andrew, or Hughesy as most of you know him as, would be the first to tell you that having a business that’s known for its generosity is also good for the business. What he probably won’t tell you about is everything else that he does that mostly goes unrecognised.
Andrew left school at fourteen and a half and started his first job at Maitland Abattoir. Money was always tight growing up and he was keen to start pulling in a wage. He also admits he was never much interested in school.
What he was interested in though, was working hard. From the minute he entered the workforce it was long days and long nights. Not only would Andrew work fulltime, but he’d also take on any extra jobs he could find on the side, working nights and weekends. The only time his attention was diverted from work was when he encountered a woman at the local pub one night.
“It was stalking at first sight,” Andrew recalled with a laugh. “I ended up chatting to this this beautiful woman and at the end of the night, I gave her the last of my money for a cab home as I didn’t want her to walk. I can tell you it was a long walk home for me that night! But she had given me her number and it was worth it. After that I kept ringing and ringing her and eventually she gave in. In 1991, that stalking finally paid off and Deb became my wife.”
It was in 2005 with 5 kids and a mortgage that the couple started A Plus Contracting. Together, Andrew and Debbie built it into the successful business it is today. 33 years, 5 kids, and a bunch of grandkids later, Andrew said he still can’t believe he managed to end up with such an amazing woman by his side.
So where does the drive come from? For Andrew it has always been about being able to provide for his family.
“I know what it’s like to go without and I’ve never wanted my kids to have to experience that. My success really comes down to being willing to learn everything I could and taking on every opportunity. And plenty of hard work.”
Hard work is something Andrew also gives away freely. From the age of 18 when Andrew first saw a sign at the pub asking for volunteers for a local church, he’s always been quick to jump in and lend a hand when it’s needed.
“It just feels right to help. Whether it’s volunteering to run the line after a playing a game of footy or helping put together some play equipment for a school, I’m happy to give as much as my time as I can.
“I feel it’s everyone’s responsibility to give back as much as they can and I’m just doing my part.”