Knisco Turns 10! Interview with Directors Ed Knight and Franco Velasco

Posted on September 14, 2020

Knisco Turns 10!

At the end of June 2020, Knisco celebrated the special milestone of 10 years in business! Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has limited our ability to celebrate this achievement with the people we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past 10 years, we did hold a surprise morning tea in which Ed & Franco were presented a card presented with well wishes from staff & clients.

Needless to say Ed and Franco were very surprised and humbled by the kind words offered.

Using the milestone as an opportunity to stop, reflect and reminisce on the many memories amassed over the years, we’ve conducted a mini interview with Ed and Franco for you to get to know them a little more about them and their reflections on the past 10 years.

Q: Tell me a little about the humble beginnings of Knisco, what are your memories of Knisco’s first year in business?

Franco: In the early days of the business, I remember driving to a client’s office to discuss a potential project. Both Ed & I were suited up – dressed to impress & keen to make a good first impression! At the time, I was driving a Chrysler Neon so we mutually agreed it would be a good idea to park about 500m down the road to avoid being seen arriving in the car. I also remember the excitement of achieving some of our initial targets/milestones.

Ed: We started in 2010 in my basement room in Kenmore. Approximately 9m2 room which had our storage, filing (it was all paper back then), a printer and both our desks… tight space, but it worked fine for the months we were there and a space that encouraged plenty of discussion including the black Labrador and golden retriever popping their heads in.

Knisco 1st birthday cake 2011

Knisco’s 1st Birthday

Q: What made you go into business with each other?

Both: Despite many people noting that we have quite different personalities, we had formed a strong relationship many years earlier. Further to this we both think and look at things differently (in a business sense and technically through our work) – we felt this was advantageous and a significant contributor to our success. We both share a mutual respect for our different approaches so are regularly challenging each other (personally & professionally). Over the course of the past 10 years, our friendship has continued to grow, and we continue to laugh at each other (Franco continues to encourage Ed’s wonderfully bad dad jokes).

Q: If you could go back in time, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself 10 years ago?

Franco: Don’t buy an $8,000 printer straight away (hahahaha)

Ed: Don’t be too overwhelmed by market conditions – there are always opportunities in any market!

Q: What is your favourite part of being in this business / industry?

Franco: Growing up, I always wanted to be in the building industry. Whilst never being sure of what I wanted to do, I felt it was an industry I wanted to be involved with as it so integral to many parts of the community. In terms of building certification, I enjoy the many challenges our role present. There is a challenge every day and this is what makes it fun (it keeps you on your toes). I also enjoy the fact that our role involves being out of the office a lot - catching up with clients, or attending design meetings, or undertaking inspections (especially those in remote areas – a recent highlight being a trip to Roma to undertake a final inspection for the new Roma Hospital). Over the last 22 years of doing this job, I have managed to visit lots of interesting places throughout the country.

Ed: The people we work with – you get people from all walks of life.

Q: What has been most surprising about the journey so far?

Franco: The challenges that come with running a business.

Ed: A worldwide pandemic!!

Q: When you started Knisco 10 years ago, did you think you would be here 10 years later?

Franco: When Ed and I started Knisco we had a long-term vision, so yes, I always expected to reach the 10 year mark. Failure has never been an option!

Ed: Yes of course!! Our goal of starting back in 2010 was more than starting a business… it was about building a brand and what growth opportunities existed. 10 years is an amazing milestone that we are very proud of, but I won’t lie… we are looking well beyond 10 years!!

Q: What do you think Knisco is now known for by our clients and potential clients?

Franco: I like to think we are known for a company that is able to deliver projects of large scale, always willing to work with the client/team to achieve a positive outcome. Always willing to help. One of the largest in the field certainly in Queensland.

Ed: Knisco is a team of professionals that offer a solution to projects, rather than presenting a number of problems. We think beyond the Deemed-to-satisfy provisions of the BCA and enjoy the ability to work with a team to achieve a common goal. We are known as the certifier who can deliver a large project and with our current and historic workload, Knisco has delivered many of QLDs largest and most iconic projects.

Q: A 10th anniversary is a big milestone; can you talk about where you hope the company will be at its 20th anniversary?

Franco: I hope the business continues to build on its reputation as a business that can proactively assist to deliver any project whether large or small. I also look forward to the next generation of building surveyors & access consultants forming a key part of our next phase of growth.

Ed: We are currently operating in QLD, NT, ACT, NSW & Internationally and providing both Certification and Disability Access… in 2030, I look forward to getting our national and international offices (for both Certification and Disability Access) together for one hell of a party!!

Q: And lastly, if you could instantly fly all of Knisco’s employees to any destination for a 10th-anniverary celebration, where would it be and why?

Franco: Havana, Cuba – in my opinion, Havana represents the party spirit of Latin America with a 1950’s feel. It also has amazing food, good music and friendly people!

Ed: Japan in winter so I can organise a team building exercise in the deep snowy powder!

EK and FV - Knisco 10th birthday cake

Knisco’s 10th Birthday