What does your role entail?
I am currently working on the SA Water Framework, where we are delivering the Water North Capital Delivery Program of works over a 4 year period. Works include watermains, dams and tanks, new construction and remediation across Adelaide and regional South Australia. As Project Controls Manager my role involves managing the overall schedule, cashflow and resourcing, from initiation of scope through to delivery.
How did you navigate your career?
After completing a Bachelor of Civil Engineering, my desire was to see things being built which had a benefit to the wider community, therefore I elected to work in the Civil Construction field. In my early years I enjoyed working on site as a Project Engineer, however I have also been involved in the planning and tender stages of projects. Throughout my career I have always been passionate about planning and scheduling, therefore Project Controls was a natural progression for this.
What has been your career highlight?
I have been fortunate and have enjoyed working in different places around Australia and the world including Darwin, Dublin and now my hometown of Adelaide. Construction of the Bakewell Underpass in Adelaide was also one of my highlights – the project involved construction of new road and rail bridges whilst maintain operation of road traffic and 5 train lines. We built the new rail bridge offline and during an Easter shutdown slid the bridge into position. I really enjoyed the staging and planning required to make this happen!
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge during my career has been balancing work and family life, whilst maintaining career progression. I have three children; therefore, I have had periods of maternity leave and part time work which has made it more challenging to progress my career. I have been fortunate that McConnell Dowell have always been supportive of this, and I still work 4 days per week to achieve the right work-life balance.
What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?
The construction industry has always been a demanding industry with long work hours, which has shown to have significant negative impacts on wellbeing and mental health. A move to reduce work hours and move from a 6–day to 5-day construction week, is an important change which would increase individual wellbeing, increase productivity, and provide more opportunities for women to work in this industry.
What would be your one piece of advice for other women aspiring to progress in the construction industry?
Have a go, work hard, enjoy the challenges, and don’t let the fact that the industry is male dominated, impact how you undertake your work. I have always found the industry to be friendly and accepting of women, when you can demonstrate that you are just as capable.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I am particularly passionate about sustainability and making the right choices in this industry that are considerate of urban planning and the environment whilst provide long term benefits to the community. As pressures on our environment increase, this is becoming more are more important. I also want to promote work-life balance in the construction industry and make part time work more acceptable for both men and women, to provide greater gender equality and wellbeing for all.