I take great pride in being both a Brummie Spatial Planner who calls the Sunshine State home with my wife Cathie and our sons Lachie and Alex.
Senior Planner, Transport Strategy and Planning, at Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads
AITPM Queensland Branch Treasurer
What first attracted you to get involved in the transport industry?
From an early age I've been fascinated by maps, new roads, and public transport. I read Geography and Geology (Joint Honours) at Aberystwyth University in Wales which gave me a significant insight into the interactions between the physical environment and the influences of human development.
I was fortunate to receive a Rees Jeffries Road Fund Scholarship to complete a Masters in Transport Planning at Oxford Brookes University. The early 2000s in England were an incredibly exciting time in terms of transport and development and it became clear to me quite early on the opportunities available to become "agents of change" within the transport discipline.
Could you explain some key opportunities in your career and how they contributed to your development?
During my academic studies I undertook placements in both a passenger transport executive and a private sector consultancy. A combination of practical exposure to the transport industry backed up by academic studies were the springboard to landing my first graduate role in Central London at one of Europe's largest transport planning consultancies.
A few years later I returned to Oxford to complete a postgraduate diploma in Spatial Planning, a precursor to me becoming a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Being actively involved in a professional institution combined with the privilege to spend time with and learn with some of the foremost thinkers and practitioners in the industry certainly sowed the seeds for my later involvement with AITPM.
What has been involvement with AITPM to date?
I’ve been actively involved in the AITPM since I arrived in Melbourne in 2009 and became a Queensland Branch committee member in 2017. In 2021 I became Queensland Branch Treasurer. Along with the rest of the Queensland branch we've had the dubious honour of organising four conferences but only delivering two during 2020 and 2021.
What are your aspirations for your contribution to the AITPM?
Above all we should be an organisation which is passionate about people. AITPM is one of the few transport specific organisation which is both wide enough and sufficiently focused to provide national leadership on all matters traffic and transport.
Although a challenging time for many, the pandemic has shaken AITPM into the next era through increased online professional development opportunities and making national connections more than just once a year at the National Conference. As a result, we're stronger than ever and a lot more relevant and future focused for our member base.
What has been a memorable moment in your career?
My wife and I first met early in our careers at the same transport consultancy in the UK and were also fortunate enough to both make our respective moves to consultancies in Melbourne where our skills were in demand.
There have been so many! Whether it's been working on a light rail extension in Manchester, port access infrastructure in WA or being part of the team that delivered 12 Regional Transport Plans across Queensland I always enjoy the satisfaction of seeing what you worked on either built or implemented.
What are your personal and/or professional career plans for the future?
As planners we carry an important mantle of placemaking to build the transport networks and communities which will leave a legacy far longer than our own. Never underestimate your ability to influence positive outcomes and always strive to push that extra mile to get that innovative solution which others may not see.
Brisbane in embarking on an exciting decade of events-led planning culminating in the 2032 Olympics. Having worked on the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and watching from afar how the 2022 Commonwealth Games have positively driven development in my home city of Birmingham I've very excited about the opportunities our profession can play in making South-East Queensland games ready and for the positive legacy that transport infrastructure investment will leave for future generations.
Do you have any advice you would like to share to professionals in the transport/traffic industry?
One of the best pieces of life guidance came from my American thesis supervisor who advised that we should all act as "osmosis sieves" to the see the good in everyone.
As planners we occupy the enviable position of being interlocutors often at the fulcrum amongst a network of professional disciplines. We should recognise the influence that this position has and use it push for the optimal outcomes.
Never stop learning. Learn from those younger than you as well as older than you and from those outside your immediate discipline. You don't know what you don't know.
What do you do in your spare time to unwind?
A lifelong Villan watching the highs and more often lows of the EPL's Aston Villa Football Club
Being a Cricket Dad and enjoying watching my son's sporting development at Toombul Cricket Club.
Looking forward to a return to overseas travel particularly if there is an opportunity to experience either a High-Speed Railway, new underground, or tram network to explore.