Who we are

Established in 1985, Connell Contractors is an award-winning business with more than 60 employees working in New Zealand.

We are market leaders in deep and large diameter pipelines, trenchless pipeline rehabilitation, sheetpiling, dewatering, electrical and civil structures. We own and operate a modern fleet of plant and machinery.

We manage contracts from our HQ in Hamilton, with offices in Auckland and New Plymouth. We strongly believe in a culture of teamwork and training as our staff have been one of the main reasons for our on-going success over the last 35 years.

Connell Contractors is a family-owned business whose core values are honesty, integrity and commitment. We are proud of our reputation for being very easy to deal with.


  • 1993 NZCF National Construction Award (Category 1)
  • 2003 NZCF National Construction Award (Category 1)
  • 2014 NZCF Waikato Branch Construction Award (Category 3) for Pressure Main 11 - Christchurch
  • 2015 CCNZ National Construction Award (Category 3) Award
  • Finalist for Maui St Tauranga
  • Winner: Supreme Business of the Year Award, 2019 Westpac Waikato Business Awards
  • Winner: Business & Growth Category, 2019 Westpac Waikato Business Awards
  • We pride ourselves on friendly honest service and we value new and long term clients.

Our Team


Our Board of Directors comprises a well-rounded blend of founding directors and construction/industry experts. Professional independent directors and advisors help give balance around the Board table.

JERRY RICKMAN Independent Director
BRUCE NIXON Independent Director
Gill Cox Consultant to the Board


Lester Foxall CEO

Lester Foxall

Lester immigrated to New Zealand in 2002 having spent several years as joint owner of a Property Development Company. He worked for Tasman Design and Civil for nine years as General Manager prior to moving to Connell Contractors. Qualified in Construction Management, Lester spent twelve years working for the multi-national company Lafarge Aggregates (Formerly Redland Aggregates Ltd), working on major civil projects throughout the UK. Typical projects included major airfield construction at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead and Brize Norton, motorway construction on the M4 / M5 networks and maintenance term contracts on all military establishments throughout the South West. He has extensive knowledge of Live Switchyard environments having spent the past ten years working in the power sector. Lester's early years were spent surveying and estimating, progressing through to general supervisory/management duties, to senior management level. Since arriving in New Zealand, Lester has become a member of both the Institute of Building Officials and the Institute of Building where he was committee member for the Northern Chapter responsible for Building Technology and Practise. DAVID CONNELL Dave has over 30 years experience in civil contracting and project management. As Managing Director of Connell Contractors Limited, Dave is responsible for the overall implementation and management of contract works. He is a past president of Civil Contractors NZ, a member of the civil trades certification board, and a life member of the CCNZ Waikato branch. QUALIFICATIONS:
  • Bachelors Degree Waikato University
  • Water ITO Level 3
  • Registered Drainlayer
  • Heavy traffic license
  • PPL – Helicopter
Ben Baxter Construction Manager

Ben Baxter

Construction Manager
Ben is a Chartered Professional Engineer and is responsible for overseeing the construction of all of our projects. After graduating with a Masters in Civil Engineering in the UK, Ben worked in the industry for several years before immigrating to New Zealand at the start of 2009. From his first role as a graduate Engineer, he has worked his way up and has had experience in all aspects of the civil construction process including estimating, setting out/surveying, project management and commercial management. Ben has been involved in a diverse range of projects from subdivisions through to tunnels, bridges and complex deep drainage works.  He prides himself on being able to provide clients with the best solution to suit their situation and isn’t afraid to think outside of the box.


  • Chartered Professional Engineer
  • Chartered Member of Engineering New Zealand
  • International Professional Engineer
  • Meng – Civil Engineering
  • STMS 2/3 NP
Michael van de pas CFO

Michael van de pas

Michael is a Chartered Accountant with over 16 years’ experience in the accounting and commercial space having previously worked for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Hamilton Airport and Waikato Milking Systems. Michael brings experience working across all facets of business including at management and board levels.  He is responsible for the day to day management of the company’s finance and administration functions.


  • Bachelor of Business
  • Chartered Accountant
Grant Forsyth Health & Safety / Systems Manager

Grant Forsyth

Health & Safety / Systems Manager
Grant has over 20 years' experience in the construction/building industry before being involved as a health and safety professional for the past 8 years. He owned his own Home Maintenance Business before starting to focus on health and safety working within the maintenance, construction and civil construction industries. He oversaw the closing stages of the Whakapapa Ski Field Gondola Build and reviewed and provided a gap analysis report of the health and safety management system for the Remarkable’s Park in Queenstown. At Enable Fiber Networks Grant was tasked with improving the capabilities of their contractors, contractor managers and strengthening their existing health and safety management system. The Lakewood Apartments build in Auckland saw him oversee health and safety on the site for over 150 workers, some of this during the Covid-19 lockdown period in 2020. He is the Branch Manager of the Waikato Branch of New Zealand Institute of Safety Management and is HASANZ registered. Grant has joined Connell to bring his diverse knowledge and skill set to help continue to lead the team. He is excited to learn more about the industry and develop strong relationships with the staff and contractors.


  • Dip. OSH (Occupational Health & Safety)
  • ICAM Investigation Techniques
  • BowTie Risk Analysis Technique
  • Certified Electrical Appliance Test & Tag
  • Heights Safety PPE Inspection
  • ConstructSafe Tier 1
Tejinder Sadhar Senior Estimator

Tejinder Sadhar

Senior Estimator
Tejinder (TJ) moved to New Zealand from northern India. Before coming to NZ, he completed his high school education and pursued further studies at Wintec. Before coming on board at Connell Contractors as an Estimator, TJ worked for Tasman Design & Civil. What TJ enjoys most about New Zealand is its greenery, lakes around the country, beaches and walking tracks in NZ. Some of his interests include cricket and travelling. TJ has been employed with Connell Contractors since September 2016. At Connell, he enjoys the feeling of being part of a team that all value and support each other.


  • NDQS
Jeffrey Setiawan Senior Estimator

Jeffrey Setiawan

Senior Estimator
Jeffrey moved to New Zealand in 2016 after working in Indonesia for several years. His roles prior to joining Connell Contractors include project administrator at Linmar Building & Construction and Junior Contract Manager at Pemberton Civil. His responsibilities include preparing bids and subcontractor engagement.


  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil)
Jose Rodrigues Estimator
Valerie Lim Environmental Engineer

Valerie Lim

Environmental Engineer
Valerie's previous work experiences include design for infrastructure works of mixed development projects, as well as being the Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Erosion and Sedimentation Control aspect of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Val believes New Zealand is a beautiful country with amazing scenery and clean fresh air. People here are friendly and best of all, she can get fresh produce directly from the garden such as herbs, apples, lemons, tomatoes and leafy vegetables!
Val and her family like to go for a walk in the park - her current favourite is Hamilton Lake. She enjoys watching Korean dramas during her free time.
The people at Connell Contractors have been very kind and helpful to Val. She feels blessed to have the management's support in beginning her career here and intends to make good use of her previous work experiences as well as current knowledge, in ensuring successful projects at Connell Contractors.


  • B.Eng – Civil Engineering
  • M. Eng – Environmental Engineering
  • Certified Professional in Erosion & Sediment Control (CPESC)
  • Confined Space & Gas Detection
Charlotte Blackler Office Admin Support
Tania Shepherd Health & Safety / Compliance Coordinator
Rose Tennent Accounts Manager

Rose Tennent

Accounts Manager
Rose has more than 30 years' experience working in office environments and joined Connell in 2018. Responsible for accounts payable and receivable, and ensuring the hard-working Connell staff are remunerated for their efforts. After starting in a temporary role at Connell, Rose is now a permanent member of the team and enjoys working and interacting with the lovely Hamilton team.


Our project management team will play a lead role in the overall execution of the project from planning to completion, including operations coordination, progress reporting and risk controlling.

Chris Marshall Senior Project Manager
Fabian Bracken Regional Manager Taranaki
Francios Fortuin Contracts Manager Auckland
Nigel Stiles Contract Manager Waikato
Kieran Hines Site Engineer
Francois Steyn Site Engineer
Dan Connolly Contracts Manager Waikato