Our Bob the Builder gets the job done

HE'S Tweed's very own 'Bob the Builder' - and as the shire council's works manager Bob Missingham is also a champion, according to his public engineering peers.

Mr Missingham leads a team of 200 mainly outdoor staff, and is in charge of a $40 million budget looking after roads across the Tweed.

Affectionately known by workmates as Bob the Builder, he was awarded the title of Champion of the Year at last week's Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) Excellence Awards in Sydney.

Each year, the prestigious title is awarded to a person who has contributed significantly to local government engineering. It is the first time the award has been won by a Tweed Shire Council employee.

Mr Missingham's career began on Brisbane City Council after completing an engineering degree at the University of Queensland. After 10 years he moved to Walgett then later to the Tweed, where he started as a construction engineer in 1985.

So when it comes to roads, like his namesake Bob the Builder, can he fix it?

"We tend to - there's not many problems that arise that this organisation can't fix," he said.

One satisfying aspect of his job has been the Tweed Shire Council's maintenance of a day labour force, unlike many other councils which have to use outside contractors for large projects.

"Others have let the expertise go, but we've always been able to do the work competitively - we built the Byangum Bridge and we're doing several reinforced cement reservoirs," Mr Missingham said.

He believes the Tweed's roads and bridges have travelled much better in recent years than those in some neighbouring shires.

"People probably think the roads are in poor state but compared to other shires, we're well off.

"When you consider all the development that's happened, we've kept existing roads in a condition people are generally comfortable with," he said.

While his career in local government will end when he retires in August, Bob the Builder doesn't intend to stop fixing things.

He's keen to get his hands dirty restoring furniture, doing odd jobs around the house and at last finding time to use his lathe.

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