Starting this month, this site will publish question & answer sessions from a selected group of seasoned professionals across several fields of expertise. The idea is to have these people share their backgrounds and experiences with a wider audience and have our readers and followers get something out of it.
The first of the series is a chat with Gerard Van Den Broek is a Construction professional from Australia and he shares with us his insights.
Q- What is your profession and tell me about yourself, your background
A- Construction Professional, started in the industry as a boilermaker apprentice in 1987 for a heavy earthmoving and structural fabricator/erector. On completion of the apprenticeship I moved to central Queensland and began working maintiance and construction jobs ranging from coal fired power stations , cyanide facilities, alumina refineries, aluminum smelters, explosive plants, glass manufacturing facilities, acid plants and also ship refits for the South pacific Navy. After some time in the industry I left to study a bachelor of science, applied Biology industrial chemistry (Central Queensland University). During this I worked part time for the department of primary industries as a field hand doing research for the barrier reef and sugar cane industry. Before completion of this I returned to the construction industry and continued both study and work.
After numerous years working my way up to a superintendent level for various companies I Joined Bechtel on the Camalco project in Gladstone in 2003 as a seconded CBI supervisor. I then worked fly in fly out for CBI on the north west shelf and later joined Bechtel again in 2008 for Yarwun stage 2. From their I moved to Worsley for 3 years and then Wheatstone for 4 years, currently still with Bechtel working pre feeds in Houston Texas USA.
Q- What drove you to choose this career path?
A- I have always enjoyed building even as a child building model airplanes, go carts, cubby houses, the reward is in finishing a build and the sense of accomplishment associated with providing a good product.
Q- Have you moved a lot for your profession and do you like travelling?
A- Yes, lots of moving as the work is always in different locations, the travel aspect is one of the benefits of the industry.
Q- What in your opinion are the three major traits to be successful in your profession?
A- Be Innovative, Be a good Listener and have a thirst for Knowledge.
Q- What have been your biggest challenges over the course of your career?
A- People, the old saying goes you please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.
Q- Would you recommend this profession to young hopefuls?
A- Yes this is a great industry and has lots of scope for energetic dedicated people, and you get to work yourself out of a job.
Q- What is your advice to young graduates and professionals?
A- If you are unsure of what path to take in your profession that is ok, joining the construction industry, this industry has so many different functions and career paths that you will never be bored. And along the way you will meet opened minded individuals from all cultures and aspects of life.