It's not often that you meet someone who has achieved 25 years with a business but that's exactly what Paul Lorigan, a foreman in Auckland's Temporary Traffic Management Department, recently celebrated.

Paul joined the business in 1996, a time when the number one song was 'the Macarena' and the film Independence Day was a box office hit. For the following 13 years he operated and maintained the moveable lane barrier machines on the Auckland Harbor Bridge. Every morning and afternoon, Paul moved the barriers to ensure traffic could flow smoothly during rush hour.

"It was a stressful job as you only have a certain amount of time to get things done safely. We were also on call 24/7 as there was only six of us who knew how to operate the machines," he said.

Prior to joining the business, Paul had driven trucks but had never driven anything quite like the barrier machine.

"The barrier machines were huge, 20 metres long by 2.5 metres wide, but I was able to learn how to drive it within about two weeks," he added.

Paul says one of his toughest days on the job was when a truck careered through one of the barriers - smashing it in two.

"Thankfully the truck driver was fine, but the barrier was destroyed!" he recalled.


Dedication and hard work 

Colleague and friend, Contract Manager Michael Marsden said: "I've known Paul for 20 years and his dedication and hard work is an absolute credit to his character. He is first in the yard every morning and the last to leave each day.'

Reflecting on the last 25 years Paul said:

I've seen a lot of change in my time but what matters the most to me is the team I work with - everyone's easy to get along with and we like to have a laugh.

In winter you can find Paul down at the local footy field refereeing a cohort of rugby league players: "I get a lot out of it - I think the kids do too. I am also a huge rugby league fan and barrack for the West Tigers," he added.

Aligning to 'safety and health above all else', Paul is a volunteer at Auckland's Western Springs Speedway where he runs safety checks on the cars and drivers before they drive onto the track.

For me, safety has always been front and centre, so I take any opportunity to share those learnings with others.

When asked about what the next 25 years had in store Paul laughed and said: "Workwise, who knows, but I hopefully I'll at least see the West Tigers win a premiership!"