It has been a busy time since my last presidents report back in March for many of us as we approach end of financial year. For many of us this means the escalation of project delivery that we commenced earlier in the financial year and the preparation of projects and budget for the new financial year so that we can hit the ground running come July.
Amongst the busy challenges and tests of working as an engineer in an exciting local government, I have found myself trying to find time to look after a few chores at home. I know across the membership of the institute that our home chores vary greatly and recently I caught our Immediate Past President, Ged Brennan digging post holes to repair his property fences but for me my recent home chore was to trim the high hedge in my front yard.
After starting the hedge work with hand trimmers, I moved to the electric trimmer before the extension lead no longer reached. I then moved to the trimmer attachment for the whipper snipper. I know this progression sounds a little funny but what I realise is that I reached for the most convenient tool first instead of just realising that the job needed the petrol trimmer from the start.
Now I’m wondering if there are even better tools around that I should use instead or even experts at this that I should refer the task to. I actually enjoy the task of yard work so I don’t want to give this away but you all get my point and that is how do you know it’s the right tool if you are not aware of what the industry has available.
I think this is a bit like us at work, where we all work hard to deliver the projects that are our priorities but how do we know we are doing it the most efficient way. Our knowledge of the most efficient way is essential and to that point our networks of peers that help us know the most up-to-date methods and technology are critical to this.
Our networks are also the place to go when we need to lean on professional friends if times are tough and we need to bounce ideas off others. I find myself doing this a lot. I am aware that I don’t have all the answers myself but I can do anything with the help of others. With the technology changes that are happening around us we have to understand things and do things that we never did before and we need to do them quickly.
A simple thing we can do to assist others to be aware of our successes and the challenges that we have overcome is to recognise standout work and peers to our network. I feel, and I’m sure many of you all will agree, that engineers are not normally good at promoting ourselves and the important role we do. Take a moment to think of and nominate those excellent projects and people around you for recognition through the upcoming excellence awards.
From a state wide perspective, the Queensland government concern around local governments approach to sustainable asset management practice has led a number of us to look at our gaps in practice.
I recall one of the turning points in my career and knowledge of asset management was back in 2010 when I took the opportunity to participate in the New Zealand asset management study tour with Peter Way. Spending a week with one of Australia’s greatest practitioners and teachers in asset management is something that I will never forget. This study tour was full or networking and learning of stories, methods and challenges that peers go through in order to do what we all need to do. We learn so much from others.
Peter Way (IPWEAQ President 1993-1995 and IPWEA President 1995-1997) has been the Chair of the NAMS Council for almost 12 years but is now stepping down from the role. Peter’s legacy has IPWEA renowned globally as a leader in asset management. As well as being a Past President of IPWEAQ, Peter has made an enormous contribution to IPWEAQ as Chair of the IPWEAQ Foundation, Chair of the Standard Drawings Working Group and various other IPWEAQ appointments over a considerable period of time. Peter also chaired the National Steering Committee for the development of the Australian Infrastructure Financial Management Guidelines.
A distinguished career spanning more than 40 years with service to several communities across Queensland saw Peter awarded a Public Service Medal in 1998 and our highest level of membership, Emeritus in 2004. Peter will continue to represent IPWEA on the ISO Standards AM TC. I would like to thank Peter for everything he has done for IPWEA, IPWEAQ, his local community and his national and international colleagues with strong leadership for the betterment of asset management across all public work areas. Peter will act in a mentoring capacity for the incoming Chair who we are pleased to say is another IPWEAQ Fellow, Murray Erbs. We wish Murray the very best in the role. He has big shoes to fill.
The IPWEAQ Board wishes to establish a NAMS Queensland Advisory Group (NAMS-Q) and I invite members to complete the Expressions of Interest form on our website if you would like to be involved. We would ideally like to have a NAMS-Q representative from each of the 77 councils or as many as possible. The inaugural meeting of the NAMS-Q Advisory Group is planned for the IPWEAQ state conference in Townsville, 24-26 October 2017 and I look forward to launching this Group before my term as president concludes.
I look forward to seeing you all in Townsville in October for the Queensland Conference.