Dan, How did you initially get into the Civil Design field?
I was first exposed to the world of Design Drafting by my dad who was a Survey Draughtsman at the E&WS (now SA Water). At that time I was only really interested in the oversized paper that he brought home for my school projects and didn’t really notice all of the detailed hand-drawn technical designs on the back. During a high school work experience placement at the Department of Planning, I was introduced to computer drafting and was taken on-site to see how it translated into functional built form. All super interesting. Beyond that though, and like many of the formative moments of my youth, beer and a beautiful woman were very much involved. Not having a clear career path out of high school, other than to go to Uni and have a great time, I tried every job that presented itself. Many of those came directly from the Uni employment program, some highlights were cleaning pubs at 2am and for a while there I was the groundsman at Netball SA Stadium during the day, serving drinks behind the bar at night. I fell for a Queenslander while holidaying on the Gold Coast and it turned out that her dad ran an Engineering consultancy there and also owned a pub at the top of Mt Tamborine. Before I knew it I had absorbed an AutoCAD manual (Release 14 if I remember correctly) and I was providing drafting support on residential sub-divisions at his office while explaining why he needed to install a Coopers Pale Ale tap at his pub.
What’s the best thing about working as a Civil Designer?
Civil Design work has taken me from the Gold Coast to a London Design office and now back to Adelaide where I have been a part of iconic projects such as the Victoria Square Upgrade and the New Royal Adelaide Hospital.
My job is ever-evolving and I get huge fulfillment out of working with client objectives and providing design solutions that exceed expectations all the way from concept to construction. We work hard and we play hard, my colleagues are also my friends.
What advice would you give to an aspiring Civil Designer?
I am a perfectionist who loves working with the latest technology and Civil Designing has provided the conduit to work with high spec computers for my job. Cloud computing and generative design have the potential to disrupt the industry which I find very exciting. In my opinion, the Civil Design field is ever-evolving and requires inquisitive problem solvers to challenge themselves and their peers. My main advice though has always been that you should enjoy your work and the people you work with, and never go more than a month without a beer with Kev. If you find yourself at a pub on Mt Tamborine, that beer could even be a Coopers Pale Ale.