Oct 5, 2022

Accountant Emma Aspinall is happiest out on-site in a hard hat

When The Phoenecian Group incorporated Wreckers in 2020, itself established in 1981, it saw Emma Aspinall assume the financial and accounting role at the new company. Emma’s father Michael Perkin has been involved in demolition since 1966 and is a pre-eminent explosives engineer in South Africa. Brother Kyle Perkin is currently an explosives engineer overseeing the demolition and bulk earthworks services at Phoenecian.

With a Bachelor of Commerce degree under her belt, Emma says it was always her dream to follow in her brother’s footsteps, but family life saw her headed in another direction entirely. “It is long hours, and one is often far away on remote sites.” However, she still likes to don her hard hat and safety boots and head out to observe any implosions taking place.

Phoenecian was responsible for the recent spectacular implosion of the Kaserne building for the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSCHO). It also recently imploded two silos at Kusasalethu Mine owned by Harmony Gold Mining. Currently it is working on various projects in KwaZulu-Natal related to buildings and structures damaged by the riots in July last year.

Emma admits that although she loves the demolition side of the business more than being in the office, her current role keeps her in contact with the executive management as well as the workers on the ground. She has broad experience of all facets of the business and says working for Phoenecian is like being part of an extended family. “I used to help my dad out. I operated machines and reversed them onto lowbeds in the early days.”

Although it remains a male-dominated industry where women especially are not afforded the same level of respect due to a perceived lack of experience, expertise, and physical capability, Emma says the culture at Phoenecian is highly supportive of diversity and inclusion.

“Generally, I have not experienced a huge number of issues in my role,” adds Emma. Instead, her enthusiasm for the industry and her love of yellow metal and implosions quickly translates to anyone she comes into contact with. “I really enjoy it and it is a very exciting industry to be part of,” she concludes.

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