Andrew (Ange) and Debbie Walker have operated Ironman Concrete Cutting Limited since December 1997. Ange is a builder by trade having done his time with Holman Construction. After finishing his apprenticeship Ange travelled overseas on his big OE. When Ange came back to New Zealand the building industry was experiencing a downturn. However, Ange was fortunate to be offered a job as a concrete cutter with a local Hamilton business. He did not know much about concrete cutting at that time but his background in the building industry gave him a head start and he has not looked back. Before commencing Ironman Concrete Cutting Ange worked for 10 years as a concrete cutter.
Debbie was born in Waihi and moved to Hamilton in her early teens. Debbie worked as a legal secretary for a local law firm and met Ange in 1989. They married in 1995 and in 1997 Debbie and Ange decided it was time to try for the kiwi dream of being their own bosses.
Deciding on a name for the business was not difficult. Ange completed his first New Zealand Ironman in March 1996 (12 hours 36 minutes) and he was hooked. Ange's passion for endurance events all started with a corporate triathlon down on the Waikato River. Ange was playing rugby for Fraser Tech Rugby Club but felt it was time to step aside for the younger players coming through. The fact that he had 54 stitches in his head following an incident at the bottom of a ruck also had something to do with it!!
Ange has always been extremely active choosing to run to rugby training rather than taking his car and hopefully being able to slip in some swimming at Te Rapa Waterworld before training also if time permitted. Ange also starting riding in the Hamilton to Whangamata bike rides. Ange raced his first marathon in Auckland in the mid 1990’s. So the three disciplines came together in the form of Ironman/Triathlon. Ange has gone on to complete 14 Ironman races including qualifying for and racing in the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in 2004 and in Port Macquarie, Australia in 2006. In January 2011, when racing the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman, Ange qualified for the New Zealand team to race in the ITU Age Group World Championships. This race took place on the 6th of November 2011 at Lake Las Vegas, USA and Ange and Debbie travelled with their children making this race day a family affair. Despite snow falling the morning of the race and cancelling the swim it was a successful day for the New Zealand team. Ange worked with the Waikato Rugby Union 7’s team for their 2016/17 summer campaign as their fitness trainer. Despite great success with no defeats in the build up to the National Championship in Rotorua in January 2017, the team lost to Counties Manukau in the final. Ange valued his time with the team and is looking forward to a continued involvement with Rugby 7’s in the future. He also continues to mentor young athletes in their given sports.
In May 2001 Debbie and Ange celebrated the arrival of their daughter Petra followed by their son Drew in November 2004. Petra and Drew both attended Te Kowhai Primary School. In 2018 Petra will be in her last year at Waikato Diocesan School for Girls and Drew will have his first year at St Paul's Collegiate. Both children are extremely active. Petra attends several dance classes a week and also plays netball in the winter season. She is actively involved in Performing Arts at school together with a Competition Dance Squad. Drew plays touch rugby and basketball for his school. He played rugby for Fraser Tech Junior Rugby Club. In 2016 he made the Western Greens Rep rugby squad and in 2017 represented Waikato at the Roller Mills Rugby Tournament. Drew is also a keen surfer and enjoys getting out on the water as much as he can – joined by Ange who has also taken up surfing!
Since the early days in 1997 the business has certainly changed. Ironman Concrete Cutting has moved to premises in Te Rapa, we now have five full time employees and a part time office assistant. Debbie and Ange continue to be totally committed to providing the best possible service and love ensuring their clients have a stress and hassle free experience.