Jim Giumelli lives his life according to a simple ethos: you must have a willingness to learn and a willingness to have a go. It is this positive attitude and history of hard work that has made Jim one of the most respected and successful businessmen in Western Australia.
As the second son of a dairy farmer in the State’s South West, Jim was always going to have to carve his own path in life.
Jim was a hard-working student and earned a Commonwealth scholarship to attend UWA, something his family’s financial situation would have otherwise precluded. After graduating from Engineering in 1968, Jim forged a career in construction that would last half a century.
Ertech, the two-man engineering firm that Jim founded in 1981, is now the biggest employee-owned construction company in Australia, working on landmark projects such as Perth Stadium.
In many ways Jim’s attitude to business embodies the ethos of UWA’s Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences – to foster innovation and encourage others to think outside the box. He entrusts his staff with the company’s prosperity by encouraging them to become shareholders.
Ertech’s continued success and growth has enabled Jim to give back to the community by creating training and career pathways for young people. In 2008, Jim established the Ertech Construction Academy in collaboration with Clontarf School and has since assisted over 100 Year 11 and 12 students from Perth and the Kimberley regions to obtain certificates in civil construction.
Jim also understands the need for business leaders to work hand in hand with universities, and has been a donor to UWA’s Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences for almost a decade.
Although Jim has previously made donations in his own name, he recently established the Giumelli Family Foundation to support causes important to his entire family, including breast cancer research and education.
“My engineering degree has enabled me to become financially well off, and I feel obligated to pay back some
of the benefits that my studies at UWA afforded me,” explains Jim.
The Giumelli Family Foundation made a leadership gift of $1 million towards UWA’s major capital project, EZONE UWA, and endowed a scholarship in the family’s name to assist rural students to pursue an undergraduate degree in engineering.
EZONE UWA is more than just bricks and mortar; it represents the commitment of the University to fostering engineering advancements. These developments will transform the Crawley campus into an innovation and technological hub, closely binding academia with industry leaders and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration.
Although Jim is slowly transitioning to retirement, he continues to busy himself at his beef cattle farm and his commitment to improving the lives of all Western Australians has never wavered.
In recognition of his remarkable career and dedication to the community, UWA was pleased to recently award Jim an Honorary Doctorate.
The generosity of more than 12,000 donors has resulted in the overwhelming success of UWA’s $400 million New Century Campaign. The campaign, which launched in 2013 and concludes later this year, has received the support of donors ranging in age from 19 to 99, including 7300 who are first-time contributors to UWA.
Together, these graduates, community members, corporations and organisations are enhancing the experience of students at UWA and ensuring the impact of transformative research and teaching well into the future.
This video shares some of the many positive impact stories from the campaign.
Liz Blaxell (Development and Alumni Relations) (+61 8) 6488 4728