What is your background?
I am a qualified Bricklayer, with over 25 years’ experience. I completed my Cert III in Brick & Block Laying in 1995 through Miller TAFE. I have also completed a Cert III in Land Management & Conservation and Cert IV in Training & Assessment.
I’m a Sydney Northern Beaches local who is passionate about ensuring the next generation of apprentices get the proper training and guidance to set them up with a career for life. Whilst I live on the Northern Beaches, you’ll still find me driving for hours to surf the South Coast waves.
What is your role at MAX Build?
I am a MAX Build Training Manager – for the Bricklaying Speciality. I onboard new apprentices and manage the day to day operations of the Bricklaying team across all of MAX Builds Job sites across Sydney.
When we bring on new apprentices, we see what skills they might already have and what trades they are most interested in.
We take on apprentices of varying ages, as sometimes it’s not just school leavers starting out, but people in established careers wanting a change in career. So the diversity in ages and interests makes my role an interesting one.
What skills do you bring to the team?
Having managed my own business and worked for a variety of companies in building and construction over the years, I’m able to use my skills to help my team and the broader MAX Build team.
From reading and interpreting site plans, to estimating effort and materials, all these skills I’ve learned over the years are being passed along to the new MAX Build apprentices.
Instilling trust, patience, a good sense of humour and a willingness to succeed in my team is the skill I rely on most in my role.
What project are you currently working on and what stage is it in?
Being part of the growing MAX Build Bricklaying team means we are in demand across nearly every job that MAX Build undertakes. Most recently we have been working on two large scale remediation and building upgrade projects in Coogee and Bondi. Both are large scale residential apartment buildings undergoing a complete transformation.
What initially interested you to join MAX Build?
First, it was the company vision, which is to be the best in the business when it comes to remedial construction. When I originally looked at MAX Builds portfolio of work I was impressed by the size and scale of the projects they undertook, and the transformations were pretty incredible.
Second was definitely the company culture. At MAX Build, it’s less about hierarchy and ego’s and more about working as part of a team. With so many trades on site, the knowledge you gain from working alongside other skilled tradesmen is invaluable and not something you get when working in a single specialised company.
Lastly, the company values, one of which is everyone goes home safe. MAX Build takes the safety of their sites and staff seriously. In the last few months across Sydney there have been multiple tragedies on other company’s job sites.
Every MAX Build team member signs a contract when they start here to look out for one another on site and make sure that every MAX Build employee gets home safe to their families each night.
What do you enjoy the most about working at MAX Build?
First the people, second the work. Honourable mention to the coffee machine at Coogee - it’s pretty awesome.
The team spirit is great, there’s always someone on site to share a laugh with even when the pressure’s on.
The locations of the jobs we work on tend to be up and down the coast of Sydney and the CBD. Whilst the work is pretty dirty at times the views make up for it. Not a bad office to be in when you’re knee deep in bricks and rubble one minute, and then you look up and see a pod of dolphins swimming past.
What are some benefits of working at MAX Build?
MAX Build is one of the few companies in the remedial construction industry who offer channels for career progression within the company. For example the onboarding of new apprentices across multi trade disciplines. New apprentices are exposed to different trades to see what suits them best or what they take an interest in before locking into that discipline.
The culture is inclusive and supportive, with senior management making an effort to get to know each and every employee.
Because we have a wide range of specialised staff at MAX Build including Site Supervisors, Project Managers, Foremen, Experienced tradesmen, Former TAFE teachers and Training Managers, if there’s something you don’t know, there’s always someone who can teach you what it is you need to know.
MAX Build offer apprenticeships, contract and full-time salaried positions and have contingency plans in place for rain days, so you never miss out on a day’s pay due to the weather. Trust me losing ten weeks’ pay in a year to rain can happen elsewhere, so it’s great to have a variety of jobs that can be completed regardless of the weather.
The team are all provided access to MAX Build’s Employee Assistance Programs, which can be accessed confidentially for work or personal needs. This is super important as suicide and depression rates among people in the construction industry are some of the highest in the country. Through access to the EAP and regular MAX Build team building days it shows that the founders of MAX Build really do care about their staff and the friendships the crew make through work.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work on the weekends?
Travelling – Lea and I are off to Bali at the end of the month, Bingin Beach is our home away from home. Sun, Surfing & Nasi Goreng and it wouldn’t be Bali without Bin Tang.
I used to shape my own boards but for the moment we’ve run out of space. Playing guitar and photography come a close second to chasing the sun and surf around the globe.
How do you like to keep healthy – body and mind?
Surfing – it’s a total body workout and sitting in the line-up can make any problem disappear.
Are you involved in any charities / volunteering outside of work?
A few years ago, I volunteered at an animal refuge in the Amazon Jungle in Bolivia. Whilst there I was caring for two Pumas. Sonko and Luna were the puma’s assigned to me, the “little kitty” in the photo was Sonko. They were unpredictable, moody in the mornings, grumpy when it rained but calmed down as soon as they were walked and fed....much like a few of my apprentices!!!
I also help out my father in law fixing old toys for kids as part of the Men’s Shed at Ingleside.
What is one thing your colleagues don’t know about you?
When I was a kid, maybe 10 years old, a mate and I took off on our surf boards paddling and exploring down a river off seven mile beach. We were having an awesome time for the few hours we were away – but hadn’t realised our parents had called the police to report us missing. When we finally came back we learnt there were two dozen cops and SES volunteers out searching for us. Ooops.
What advice would you give yourself for when you first started out in your career?
Save 20% of my salary each week
What is your favourite entertainment?
Movie: Point Break
TV Show: Last Man on Earth
Book: Breath by Tim Winton