What's your employer doing and what are your areas of responsibility?
TransGrid is responsible for the transmission of electricity from a power generator to a distributor which means it has a large network across NSW spanning from city to city. TransGrid has a series of assets to manage the transportation of energy in the form of transmission towers/poles and substations.
What are YOU exactly doing?
I am responsible for the delivery of a project which may vary from tower remediation to the installation of new assets in a substation. Projects are usually derived from needs where certain assets exhibit poor performance or show cause to believe that their condition may deteriorate and affect the reliability of our network. TransGrid scopes the project under a needs analysis and is then transferred to the Infrastructure Delivery unit which is responsible for delivering it under a budget and time requirement. The delivery of the project scope requires us to draft a contract including all technical specs and commercial requirements, select a tender response based on pre-set condition criteria and then program the works from the possession of site (POS) to practical completion (PC). The delivery of the project involves managing contractors, monitoring performance and progress, managing contract related issues and site management issues and reporting on a monthly basis.
Additional information? Does a teenager understand what you are doing?
One way to put it would be that if TransGrid were to experience any major issues in our network which would cause it to fail, all of NSW and other states would be blacked out and lose power until our networks come back online. This means no electricity at home, school, gyms, offices, anywhere where there isn’t a generator available.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town in the Middle East in a country called Qatar. My parents were originally from India and so was I, but I never had the opportunity to live in India and experience the lifestyle until I reached university. I completed my bachelors in civil engineering from India and moved back to the Middle East and works as a junior site engineer on high-rises.
List the most important stages of your life (school, education, experience abroad, jobs...)
My time working with a contractor in the Middle East made me realise that I wanted to build a career in project management which made me realise that I needed to acquire a degree in project management. I moved to Australia to pursue a degree which satisfied both my goals of studying project management and property development at UTS. Whilst studying the project management course and expanding my horizons beyond a civil engineer’s, I realised the principles taught in project management would allow me to work in any sphere, ranging from high-rise project to infrastructure projects to even IT projects
How did you get to your current job position and for how long have you been doing it already?
Due to my background and professional prejudices, I initially anticipated to see myself in the construction industry and was unsure of my decision to work at TransGrid if I were ever accepted. I wanted to become a project manager, not an electrical engineer. 1 and a half years into this industry and with the current and future project management opportunities available, I don’t see myself leaving this industry anytime soon!
Suppose someone wants to do the same job as you do, would that be also possible with a different background?
I was initially under the impression that as a civil engineer, I wouldn’t be able to manage projects at TransGrid. However, after starting at TransGrid and managing multiple projects from Tower Life Refurbishment to feeder reconnections, I realised that you probably could do my job even if you didn’t have an electrical background. My biggest aid in this time has been the project management principles I learnt at university and seeing them applied here in a large organisation. Adaptability and problem solving are probably the 2 biggest skills I would recommend graduates to have when taking on this role.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Personally, for me to be able to manage projects with budgets ranging from $3-8 million so early in your career is surreal and then to be able to work with contractors such as ABB, CPB, Zinfra, and Downer is priceless. If projects are your career goals, I would be surprised if any other organisation would be providing similar opportunities at such an early stage in your career and I truly believe that the TransGrid graduate program sets you up to be an experienced project manager. The coolest thing about this opportunity is the actual opportunity itself.
Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Is your job physically demanding? What's for you the biggest limitation in your job?
Yes, you are solely responsible for the delivery of a job which means you need to be monitoring the time, cost and quality quotients of the project with your project team. You need to be able to plan the job, resource it which means you are allocating dollars as well as people’s time to your job and be able to manage the costs. The learnings that you take away from the graduate construction management program can be applied in any industry within a project management context, therefore, the only limitation that I saw starting out at TransGrid of becoming ‘stuck’ to one industry is in fact not true.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...