Russell Bunton electrifies Cayman

While the Mega Systems logo may be a familiar sight to those in the construction services sector, the man behind the name seems to keep a much lower profile.
 
Russell Bunton may not be the limelight-hogging type but the firm’s steady rise over the past two decades is a sure sign he must be on to something.
Like all good business success stories Mr. Bunton’s started out modestly and combines a bit of good fortune, a lot of hard work, a fair share of tragedy and a healthy dose of optimism.
 
Raised on a farm on Vancouver Island, Canada, Mr. Bunton first came to Cayman in 1985 to help his father on what was supposed to be a short job.  Needless to say, he hasn’t left yet.
 
Married for 17 years to Sheena, the couple has two girls, Quincy and Madison, 5 and 10. It might be considered a sign he’s doing something right that his eldest has already said she wants to come work for dad.
 
That would only be apt, as Mr. Bunton’s dad had a lot to do with where Russell finds himself today.
 
To those who knew him, the elder Mr. Bunton was known as Dr. John.
 
“That’s because people said he could fix anything,” recalls Russell. 
 
“My father came down to work for another contractor, but we eventually started up our own business with a Caymanian partner,” he says.
 
“It started out as a real family business, with my mother helping out as well. It just kept growing.”
 
The company name has a story all its own. “Mega” came from Russell’s niece Megan. It was a big name for what started out as a small ma and pa operation, but Russell is no stranger to aiming high.
 
“And ‘Systems’ gives you a broad perspective of the range of work we can do,” says Russell.
 
Running a successful contracting business in the Cayman Islands is a far cry from farming in Canada, but Russell seems well suited to the change of scenery. And it’s not like he wasn’t already gearing up for a hands-on career early on. There was always work to do on the family farm and as a young man, Russell enjoyed tooling around with motorbikes and cars.
 
“You could say I was mechanically inclined,” he says.
 
Not afraid to test his chops, Russell spent time working at an oil refinery, a tough job if there ever was one. But it would prove to have its payback down the line.
Mr. Bunton cites the good fortune he and his father had on that first job together, where a bit of luck a good work ethic and some mechanical experience dovetailed nicely. 
 
“We were doing an electrical service call in Bodden Town for a gas station. The gas pump wasn’t working and the owner asked us to check it,” says Mr. Bunton.
 
“I didn’t know about gas pumps, but I looked at it anyway and was able to troubleshoot it and fix it.”
 
“Just from that one little job we were able to build a good reputation, as the owners kept asking us back for more work, and now for one we are doing gas stations all around the Island,” he says.
 
“The business grew through the contacts we made. We never really advertised, it was just reputation, we were the guys to get it fixed.”
 
Over the years until his passing close to two years ago, Dr. John took care of the electrical side of things for Mega Systems, while Russell mainly oversaw the petroleum work. Mr. Bunton notes the company has received numerous awards, including contractor of the year from Exxon.
 
Today Mega Systems has about 40 staff and operates not only in Cayman but in Bermuda as well.
 
Alongside building and maintaining gas stations, Mega Systems’ work is certainly diverse. From the massive Jerry Beck house in South Sound, cranes at port authority, the Flowers block plant, to all the electrical for the Water Authority’s new water plants, the company has a lot on its plate.
“Basically when it comes to leading the way on electrical work we are there,” says Mr. Bunton.
 
He’s pleased the company and the staff have been able to build a good reputation of getting the job done at a fair price.
 
And the commitment to good work seems to be paying off in more ways than one. While building a brand doing complicated electrical jobs that are on the cutting edge, Mega Systems has had the chance to enter a new era.
 
The turning point came thanks to the good fortune Russell and his team had to work with the late Frank Banks and his project manager Lindsay Scott.
Mr. Banks was an innovator determined to build Cayman’s first solar powered home. With Mr. Scott overseeing the home’s construction, Mega got the solar array installation job.
 
“When the opportunity came up to get into alternative energy and help bring that technology here, we were really honoured to be a part of it,” says Russell.
 
“Our staff were very passionate about the project. Everyone was so eager to get involved. A lot of the guys volunteered on the project just to get the hands on experience.”
 
Russell says he was not surprised.
 
“A lot of staff have been doing this for 10-15 years, they see the future. That one job has opened up a lot of opportunities for us. We now have four or five alternative energy jobs coming up.”
 
Sadly, Mr. Banks passed away as the project reached completion, but that event has not changed the fact that a new greener Cayman has arrived, and there are companies like Mega Systems that are out there excited and eager to carry on the kind of work that Mr. Banks set into motion. 
 
“The great thing about my job is the diversity, as the work we do is never the same,” says Russell.
 
“And we have an awesome team of people, I couldn’t ask for better. It’s the people here that make it that much better, I consider myself so fortunate.”

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