Leaving a legacy, digging smarter, treading lightly

Craig Burnie, Managing Director for Vermeer Equipment Suppliers, who so tragically died in a recent car accident, was a man on a mission. His ambition, entrepreneurship and dedication impressed; an enlightened, positive, motivated and hardworking man.

Craig Burnie, Managing Director for Vermeer Equipment Suppliers

Craig’s professional attitude permeated Vermeer’s DNA, where a sense of never being satisfied with the status quo shone through.

René Albert, Global Product Manager, Trenchless Pipeline, Vermeer Corporation has lauded Craig’s work with Vermeer in South Africa, stating that “the South African organisation, under Craig Burnie, is an example, a template, for what we look for in the rest of the African continent, as he covers not only South Africa, but all the way up to the Sahara, supported by very skilled workers.”

Craig’s vision and ambition saw Vermeer Equipment Suppliers ride the(local) fibre boom, becoming a major player in both long haul (backbone) work and fibre to the home (FTHH), as well as in the rapidly growing renewable energy sector (solar, wind and biofuel projects) in southern Africa.
“I’ll always remember Craig Burnie for the invaluable role he played in easing me into Plant Equipment & Hire and The Civil Engineering Contractor. I was always welcome to give him a call and use him as a sounding board. Likewise, he returned the favour by always sharing information on the ground. He was well-known for giving us contentious leads that were ‘worth investigating’. And they usually turned out be very accurate.

Craig was probably one of the most passionate members of the industry I have had the pleasure to meet while at Brooke Pattrick. This, inevitably, led to him being regarded as the doyen of ‘trenchless technologies’ in South Africa. I merely had to drop his name at international events to be given free roam at Vermeer’s exhibition stand. They all knew Craig. He was the drive behind Vermeer’s 80% dominance of the southern African HDD market.

As Craig would often espouse, “When everything is properly understood and properly considered, what seems initially like a more expensive option (trenchless) is actually extremely cost-effective. It shouldn’t even be compared to open trenching from a price perspective.”

The industry has lost a champion, a man who was never afraid to doing things differently.”

David Poggiolini – Editor The Civil Engineering Contractor
“I remember one of my first assignments when I started at Brooke Pattrick was to interview Craig on Vermeer’s new HDD launch. I recall his knowledge, experience and desire to drive the trenchless solutions industry in South Africa and beyond.

He was a true proponent of no-dig solutions who dedicated much of his professional career to the development and implementation of these technologies in an environment that is notorious for its detrimental cut-and-fill ways.

He strived to provide knowledge and practical technologies for no-dig pipe installations and repair of underground infrastructure systems.

Over the years, he fought tooth and nail to educate the industry on the benefits of these technologies. They say death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but his has left a true legacy that will forever change the face of the no-dig industry in Africa.”

Munesu Shoko – Editor Plant Equipment & Hire
Brooke Pattrick sends its heartfelt condolences to Craig’s family and work colleagues.


A memorial service will be held on Saturday 1 August at 10h00.
Fourways Memorial Park
1 Memorial Lane (off Campbell/Inchanga)
South Africa, 2055
Office: 011 465 1715
Cell: 081 426 7531

If considering flowers or gifts, please consider a donation to the organisation below.

Green Dogs Conservation
First National Bank
Branch Code:250655
Account number: 62450100145
Cheque Account
Reference: Burnie Memorial

Contact person:
Rox Brummer rox@greendogsconservation.com
Website: Green Dogs Conservation


Vermeer Equipment Suppliers

In 2004, Craig officially started business as Vermeer Equipment Suppliers (Pty) Ltd, after Vermeer Corporation awarded it dealership rights for South Africa and the Sub Saharan Africa region.

Craig’s intention was to establish Vermeer’s position as a market leader within the environmental sector, while continuing to promote the 'track' and 'trenchless' range of underground equipment. There was little knowledge, training or support available for the installation of product using trenchless techniques at the time, and as Vermeer began to target this sector aggressively, rapid growth ensued.

By 2015 had the company had moved into its own, purpose built, premises.

Face to face with Craig Burnie: Treading lightly Plant Equipment & Hire June 2015

Darren Smith
Darren Smith


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