Employee Profile: Below the surface

Bumpy Samuel, Surfacing Manager

Paralysed from a dare devil stunt at four years old, this man certainly lives up to his name! Like Kanye, Kylie and the Kardashians, our Surfacing Manager is known only by one name… that is “Bumpy”.

The nickname for Teokotai Samuel came about when in his younger days his experimental stunts caused him a whole lot of hurt. When he was four, one of his physical feats led him to waking up the next day paralysed. The bump to his head had made his brain swell, but after six weeks of his parent’s worry and anguish he bounced back to normal.

As a kid, Bumpy loved building ramps and performing tricks on his BMX, “I’ve always had the attitude that if someone tells me I can’t do something, I’ll just go ahead and try it” he said, “and the dares from my mates got bolder, bike ramps got bigger and the obstacles became more dangerous, including jumping over some of the other kids.” The amount of bruises and breaks he suffered from messing about earned him the permanent nickname.

Originally from Flaxmere, a suburb in the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand’s North Island, Bumpy grew up in the coastal town with his parents, two brothers, Noel and Albert and sister Linda. “My dad taught me how to become immune to pain, I wasn’t the easiest child to bring up and he used to bash me with the vacuum stick on a daily basis! Little did he know I’d always have newspaper down my pants to soften the
blows!” he confessed.

His dad, who has also worked in the industry all of his life, taught Bumpy everything he knows and one of his earliest memories was being taken on a bitumen sprayer at three years old. “My dad would take me to work with him at the weekends and on school holidays, so I became accustomed to being around the intense heat and the smell of bitumen from a very early age,” he said. “I started working in spray seal at the age of 14 for Bitumix Ltd, NZ earning a decent $8.60 per hour and then moved in to asphalt when I was 22, becoming the youngest supervisor in my division.”

Some people are head hunted yearly, some monthly, Bumpy seems to be head hunted on a daily basis. But luckily for us he’s stayed a loyal warrior of KEE since 2011. Our Surfacing Estimator James (Coady) Coad said; “Bumpy is a boss who does things by the book to ensure our clients get a great experience from start to finish. He has worked his way through the ranks and developed many skills to get where he is today. His ‘never say no’ attitude and his willingness to give anyone a go is one we all can all aspire too.” Bumpy said; “It’s almost impossible to plan your day at KEE, as it’s always full of surprises! But in all seriousness, our first and foremost aim is to help people and that is a trait I have learnt from Antonia, Clayton and Damon.”

Bumpy winds down at the weekends by playing golf and hanging out with his family. He lives with his wife Lilly and his three children Moena 20, Noel 15, Tiamaya 11 and dog George- his right hound man.

Our people are our greatest asset

KEE Group are growing fast and we are often looking for the right people to help us make it happen. If you would like to join our team and share in the excitement, get in touch today!

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