Inspire : Public Works Mar Apr 2014
14 Public Works Professional March-April 2014 What inspired you to become a civil engineer? I always had an interest in construction and in designing and implementing infrastr ucture ser vices such as water, sewerage and roads. It's also a bit of a family tradition -- my father was a contractor and my brother had been involved with working for councils and consultants as well. My three sons are also all involved in engineering in some way. Has there been a highlight of your career? I've had a number of challenges and changes over the years that stand out. The main ones would have been the constr uction of major water and sewerage infrastr ucture at Ulverstone Council [Tasmania] when I came here in 1978. I was employed as a Design Engineer and worked with a major potato processor in the area to upgrade the sewerage infrastr ucture and with the regional water authority to provide new water supply infrastructure. Then there were the amalgamations in 1993 to form the Central Coast Council, which was when I progressed to Director of Engineering Ser vices. The challenge during amalgamation was bringing three different communities together and sorting out the infrastructure for all of those areas and also re- organising the staff involved. I was responsible for all the engineering and works staff, and that was done without any loss of jobs. There were also some major projects that came out of amalgamation. I was also Project Manager for the Tasmanian Water and Sewerage Reform transition in 2008, involving the transfer of assets including employees from councils in the North Wester n Region to water/ sewerage authorities -- a challenging exercise. How did you become involved with the IPWEA? My predecessor Brian Duthie, who was the only other engineer at Ulverstone Council at the time, was an active member of what was then the Local Gover nment Engineers Association. He was actually one of the founding members of the association in Tasmania. Brian encouraged me to get involved, and it was actually around the time that membership requirements changed from having to be a Municipal Engineer; I was one of the frst members to join outside of that, as a Deputy Municipal Engineer. Was Brian an important mentor in your career? Brian Duthie was my initial manager at Ulverstone and he inspired me to progress my training and experience as a cadet/civil engineer with GHD, where I commenced my employment in engineering in 1970. When I frst came to Ulverstone as design engineer, it was a new position. We only had three members of staff in the engineering offce here, and Brian had the confdence to mentor me and help me progress through the business, which is one of the main reasons I've been here for 35 years. In what ways has being an IPWEA member bene ted your career? Mainly through opportunities to network with other engineers. Certainly the biennial conferences have been an important part of that; I don't think I had missed one until the last one up in Darwin that I couldn't make, unfortunately. Locally, the seminars and regular meetings are also a valuable part of being a member of the IPWEA. You were recently awarded Emeritus IPWEA membership. How did that feel? Actually, back to your earlier question, that would in fact be the highlight of my career. The pleasing thing about being awarded Emeritus membership is that it's recommended by your peers. And they did it very quietly, so it was a complete surprise when [IPWEA Tasmania President] Mat Greskie announced it. What advice would you o er to other younger or less experienced public works professionals? It's important when you're starting out to take on some of the basic tasks as part of your initial training -- and don't be afraid to make decisions when gaining experience. However, allied with that is to also be aware of your limitations as you're gaining experience. And don't be afraid to ask for advice. What do you hope for in the future? I've recently retired, but I plan to continue my involvement with IPWEA through other members and through the Tasmania Foundation, of which I've been a Trustee for many years. I also plan to spend more time with my family and grandchildren and go travelling; I’m heading off to Europe in May! ••• BEVIN EBERHARDT A job well done After 40 years of dedicated service to the public works industry in Tasmania, IPWEA Emeritus Member Bevin Eberhardt recently embarked on a well-earned retirement. However, he hopes to maintain close ties to the Institute and the sector. MY CAREER Don't be afraid to make decisions when gaining experience, but also be aware of your limitations. DOITONOUR ONLINE FORUMS: Visit goo.gl/VjDzhz to discuss this article. MORE TO ADD?
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