I’m a fixer. I like nutting things out and solving problems. I come from a long line of engineers and railway workers and when I first wandered onto a construction site, with a shovel in my hand, I felt right at home. It was my 22nd birthday over 16 years ago.
I was at university doing pharmacy and took a labouring job in the holidays. That’s how I started in construction. Eventually, I undertook civil engineering and construction management at Newcastle and Southern Queensland Universities and became a site engineer.
My first job for CPB Contractors was a fish lift on the Tallowa Dam in Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales. This was an important environmental project, but a bit quirky too because it involved redirecting a river and constructing a giant escalating bucket on tracks to a dam wall to lift native fish over the dam so they could swim up the river to breed.
After that, I did a string of more conventional infrastructure projects around Australia. I worked on the Hume Highway upgrades and did FIFO on the duplication of BHP’s rail line from Mt Newman to Port Hedland in WA. I worked my way up to senior project engineer, then decided a change was in order and returned to the CPB Contractors fold as a Quality Advisor on the North West Rail Link tunnel.
After working on Australia’s largest tunnelling projects for six years I have taken on a quality and systems analyst role in the corporate quality team – which means I’m setting up all the systems that aid our quality and construction program.
Quality is about giving the client exactly what they asked for and ensuring the safety and longevity of what we are building for the client and the general public. My job involves a lot of collaboration with people on projects about making the systems work better for them. Having worked on projects for years, I’ve poured concrete, I’ve run crews and dealt with all the stakeholders you have on a job. I know what the team on the ground need.
I make sure the projects have all the reference documents they require. When a site engineer sits down at his or her computer, the documents must be there. I have to make sure it is all up to date, accurate and ready.CPB Contractors’ quality framework is important for everybody involved with a project.
When I was a senior project engineer, I really enjoyed the camaraderie of being in a team, the achievement of shared goals. Quality is very much where I can still have the satisfaction of saying “I helped build that,” while steering my career in a different direction.
I’ll be happy so long as I’m still helping people build things.