Greg MacDonald is part of the senior leadership team here at Engenium. As a teenager Greg had every intention of studying Agricultural Science, but quickly changed his mind during a careers information trip to Adelaide.
Since then, Greg has had an extensive career in Civil Engineering and Project Delivery. He is also partial to a Dad joke and has a passion for ballroom dancing. Find out more about Greg MacDonald in this month’s quick chat interview.
What is your role at Engenium?
My primary role is that of Project Manager responsible for project delivery. In parallel to this, I have a developing portfolio manager scope principally for a blue-chip mining company. Plus, a business development role, supporting the Executive Management Team with client contacts and representation at industry events.
What are your areas of speciality and expertise?
I have a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and an MBA and have spent over 30 years in project delivery.
My project delivery expertise spans across heavy civil construction for roads, bridges, airports and near-shore port infrastructure, defence facilities, offshore sub-sea installations for the oil and gas industry, mine process plants and mine services installations.
I also have project delivery experience in heavy haul rail, non-process infrastructure, urban waste to resource and recycling facilities, and commissioning of automated ore car dismantling and refurbishment equipment. I am also currently working on a building refurbishment project.
On top of this I have worked on off-shore installation vessels in remote jungle locations like Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, and in business development activities promoting waste to resource technology across Europe and Asia.
So, you could say I am a ‘generalist’ with expertise in project delivery across both urban and remote locations in Australia and internationally, with projects ranging in size from $300,000 to approximately $2 billion.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on two projects– an infrastructure refurbishment project and a study of mine process plant recovery improvement initiatives.
What do you enjoy about working at Engenium?
We are very fortunate to have a dynamic Executive Management Team, who are client-focused and keen to grow the business, while providing us with opportunities to drive our own learning and development.
The flat management structure allows us ready access to the Company Directors, who are open to listening to contributions from the wider team.
I specifically enjoy getting involved in tasks other than direct project management, as well as the culture of accountability and improvement.
What inspired you to pursue a career in your field?
You could almost say I entered the Engineering profession accidentally. I grew up on a fruit growing property in rural South Australia. Up until mid-way through my final year in high school I had planned to study Agricultural Science with the intent of returning to the property.
Then, one day my rural High School ran a careers information trip to Adelaide where we could visit tertiary institutions and decide our career path. I visited Adelaide University’s agricultural faculty and was completely underwhelmed by the concepts of counting grains of cereal crops in test beds and cutting up assorted insect pests. So, I thought a little harder and decided on Civil Engineering with a view to owning my own earthmoving company, as it aligned (in part) with my rural background and my parent’s business designing and supplying irrigation systems to other fruit growers.
I loved being directly involved in the site work of civil construction. Then I channelled my interest into the management of the projects – co-ordinating the design, procurement, contracting strategy and execution.
What is something you love to do outside of your work life?
I attended a contracting company’s annual ball shortly after arriving in Perth and spent some time with a bunch of other young project engineers enjoying the amber beverages and dancing, in a totally uncoordinated manner, with the Pay Master’s wife and two daughters.
After recovering from the post-ball embarrassment, I took a course of ballroom dancing classes, working towards medal standard. It appealed to me because it was something entirely different to engineering and project delivery – and it improved my prospects with the ladies!
That was some time ago and I have now lost a lot of the steps, but I do enjoy having a spin on the dance floor every now and then. My ballroom dancing partner at the time was also a successful race-horse trainer, and I eventually had a share in one of her race horses. Unfortunately her success did not transfer to that particular horse.
Current interests are taken up with my family and our fishing boat. But my fishing success is a little like the racehorse - you do a lot of preparation, spend the time and cash, but don’t often get a result!
What makes you laugh?
My wife Carmen gave me a pack of daily ‘Dad jokes’ for Christmas. Some of them are very clever.
Who inspires you?
That’s a tough question.
I’d like to say something profound here, but my inspiration is a little closer to home – my wife, Carmen.
We bought a dancewear retail business approximately four years ago, and she has turned that business from a struggler to a success through strong customer focus, real product knowledge based on her own experience, and a determination to go beyond what our competitors would do.
During this time I have seen her confidence and self-belief rise significantly, to the point where she is now one of the ‘go to’ people in Perth for fitting ballet pointe shoes.
What is your favourite quote?
“It’s far better to milk the cow while it is standing in the shed than to chase it around the paddock.” This quote was from an old farmer and I love the logic behind it.