Approaching his 15th year with the firm, we sat down with Dean to reflect on his time at the firm. Humbly, Dean suggests that his career has been borne of favourable circumstances.
He says, “My philosophy is to never turn down an opportunity, but rather, embrace it and follow it through. You don’t know where it will lead you.”
During the first decade of his working career, Dean specialised in designing and commissioning water treatment systems. It gave him the technical foundation his career needed.
“WSP further exposed me to great project experience,” explains Dean. “This gave me a good sense of the operability of what we design, and I got to see our work in action, which in turn is how we help communities thrive.”
Over his time with WSP, both the firm and the water sector have evolved. Dean adds, “My role has changed from having a technical focus to managing and leading the Queensland water business.
“Through this, I developed an appreciation for essential skills such as flexibility. I had to adapt to changes, learn new skills and become more resilient. It was a fantastic learning experience and something that has helped me immensely.”
Now managing 45 people, Dean is an advocate of flexible working. In 2000, he took a year off from engineering and jumped at the opportunity to open a restaurant with his partner.
Blue Room Cinebar, a thriving boutique cinema and restaurant in Paddington, Brisbane, has now become one of the most sought-after hotspots in Brisbane.
However, it was during his time away from engineering, that Dean realised that his passion was still in engineering and to a lesser extent, hospitality. With a new business, Dean returned to engineering with a greater understanding of the need for a flexible and inclusive workplace.
“In the water business, the majority of our team who work part-time, are female, except for one male. While not all those who work are doing so to focus on their families, it’s important for us to support our people and help them to bring out the best in their work and home lives. As a team, we can plan for changes and set expectations with our clients to make it work.
“I believe that being a great leader is about trusting the people you work with. With a diverse team, comes different ways of thinking to challenge outcomes. I’ve seen first-hand the value of diversity of thought in delivering better results for both our clients and the firm.
“I have three daughters and try to teach them that they can do anything. There are no boys’ jobs or girls’ jobs. I want them to have equal opportunities and to be treated with respect.”
He takes this inclusivity to work.
“In our team, we are challenging the unconscious biases and offering women and men the same opportunities,” adds Dean. “From the conception of all our processes, we are making a conscious choice to be inclusive.”
It is Dean’s understanding of the importance of an inclusive, gender balanced, and flexible working environment that sets his team apart and helps them to better serve the communities in which they live, work and play.
Dean’s advice to those just starting out in their careers?
“Be open to opportunities and say yes more often than no. If you have a positive outlook and approach, you’ll find that more exciting experiences will cross your path. Grab them!”
To stay abreast of our latest news, publications, videos and posts, please follow us on LinkedIn.