He leads by example, acting with moral and intellectual integrity, treating everyone with respect, and embracing diversity. He believes the whole WSP family is greater than the sum of its parts.
Having grown up in rural Queensland on a dairy farm, Gerard has always been passionate about family, community and sustainable development. His father was a Registered Cadastral and Engineering Surveyor who worked on major projects throughout Queensland including the 1960s rail line to the Moura Mine in the central part of the state. With Gerard spending his youth as a chainman/surveyor’s assistant, his passion for strategic, large-scale future shaping projects was ignited.
He says, “During my time with the firm, I have had the privilege of developing my career alongside some outstanding people and incredible teams and have also been honoured to work on some of Queensland’s biggest infrastructure projects.”
Gerard is passionate about developing a workforce that understands community and client needs, and this was instilled in him from the very beginning. He says, “I have had a number of mentors who have guided and helped me to create a positive mindset that has encouraged and challenged me to go above and beyond what I thought could be achieved.”
Reflecting on his time with WSP, Gerard adds, “The culture has always been something that the firm has hung its hat on. We foster an open, collaborative, honest, fun, respectful, diverse and inclusive workplace where all employees are empowered to be themselves and challenged to be innovative in solving complex problems.”
Gerard looks back fondly on the Rolleston Rail and the Ipswich Motorway Upgrade (Origin Alliance) projects as highlights in his career. He says, “Whilst unique in their own rights, both projects benefitted communities and helped our clients solve connectivity and safety problems in Central Queensland and Brisbane respectively.
“Rolleston Rail joined a regional mine to the Port of Gladstone and in the process created more than 400 jobs for locals. The award-winning Origin Alliance project included an eight kilometre stretch of the Ipswich Motorway and was completed six months ahead of schedule and under-budget, and at the time was Queensland's largest ever federally-funded road project. “It is projects such as these where great teams come together to help create a legacy for communities in the long term that resonate with me.”
More recently, the co-location of three legacy WSP offices in Brisbane has been a landmark moment for Gerard. He says, “As the face of our Queensland operation, the coming together of all our offices is an exciting time for me, our people and our clients. It means we can collaborate more effectively with one another and in turn provide greater service to our clients.”
Speaking of diversity and inclusion, Gerard is passionate about leading from the front in the push for developing a more balanced workplace. He adds, “Resourcing projects with diverse people reflects the ideas and interests of today’s society. It is this very mixture of age, gender, ethnicity and culture that helps us better service our clients and think outside of the box when solving their challenges.”
“I remember back when I graduated from university, less than ten out of 200 students were female. Whilst progress has been made in this respect, the gender composition of our STEM courses across the country is not reflective of our society. It’s an age-old question; how can we attract and retain more females in STEM? To me this is what needs to be solved first.
“I have seen this firsthand with my daughter and the strong female role models at her school. STEM courses are strongly encouraged and I hope this will result in an increase in female participation in our industry in the future.
“On the whole, gender equality is important to me and I hope that both my children will be afforded equal opportunities based on merit in choosing their future careers.”
Gerard is also a strong supporter and champion for increasing the opportunities for Indigenous Australians in our industry. His leadership and governance has been fundamental to the success of the Science & Infrastructure Development (SID) School for Year 10 to 12 indigenous students. The SID School is a partnership between WSP and the Queensland University of Technology Oodgeroo Unit and in 2018 was awarded the Gold Award for Excellence in Corporate and Social Responsibility from Consult Australia.
Outside of work, you will see Gerard spending time with his family and pursuing various hobbies. “Today, I’m a vocal advocate for a strong work-life balance. When my kids were younger I took a keen interest in their junior sports such as soccer, tennis and cricket, and this included cricket umpiring duties to ensure I was involved.
“Beyond family time, I love watching sports and remaining active. Rugby league and motor racing are my favourites and I also enjoy my running to keep healthy.”
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