When Matt Sturge first joined Beca he was starting out as a graduate and, since then, his career has continued to progress – he’s held a variety of roles and been involved in some of Auckland’s most iconic projects like Manukau Harbour Crossing, Waterview Connection and SH20A to Airport alliances. He’s now our Operations Manager – Transport and Infrastructure New Zealand and a month into his new role, we asked him about his time at Beca as well as what’s trending in transport and infrastructure.
What have been some of your most memorable and enjoyable experiences at Beca?
I first started as a graduate in the Hamilton office just under 20 years ago (which is kind-of scary). Then I went overseas for a few years and came back, this time to join Beca’s Auckland Civil Structures team. I have since worked in various roles and across numerous projects, so as far as memorable and enjoyable experiences - there have been a fair few!
In all fairness though, what I find most enjoyable would absolutely have to be the people. I’ve met and worked with a really diverse bunch of talented, fun and engaged people all through my career. You take the best out of everyone you work with, be it colleagues, clients or partners. It shapes who you are as a person. Being based in project offices and on construction sites has also added to the diversity – it’s as if I’ve had lots of mini careers during my time here.
You must have worked on many projects through your career. Which projects have stuck with you the most and why?
The Manukau Harbour Crossing was the first alliance I’d ever worked on, dating about ten years back. The project culture for the alliance was something I had never experienced before. Waterview would definitely be another highlight. This was different, again, because I was involved right from the beginning, starting with the tender phase - winning the tender after working on it for nine months was pretty awesome!
When working on the detailed design for Waterview, I was really embedded in the community. This is what makes these project roles so cool - because you’re right there, hearing and seeing first-hand how you’re making everyday better; helping the community to be involved and heard in how the projects and developments affect them. If I had to name a single project, then the America’s Cup was probably the most meaningful for me. I led the bid and the delivery phase and, when the design was mostly complete, I passed my leadership role to our deputy design manager. I’m really proud of this because it shows our ability to deliver, as well as our culture of growing and nurturing up-and-coming talent.
Sounds like you’re passionate about growing our people and future leaders.
I really am. There’s nothing quite like receiving great feedback from a client about someone you’ve seen grow and learn. Beca provides an extremely supportive and mentoring environment, and I feel honoured to help future leaders shine even if the role I’ve played is small. The America’s Cup is a great example of this; I essentially made myself redundant because it was time for me to move on and I knew my deputy at the time was more than capable of stepping into my shoes as design manager.
What are your thoughts on the current trends in the transport and infrastructure space?
The big word here would be ‘change’. The market’s changing, what our clients are focusing on is changing. And when you throw in global mega trends such as climate change, the political landscape and globalisation, new technologies and design automation, there’s a lot happening in this market to keep everyone motivated.
As a market leader, what opportunities do you see to provide even greater value?
Our purpose to make everyday better, includes being trusted partners and working together with our clients; providing guidance and advice to help shape their strategy and projects. This is more relevant than ever given all the changes that the market is currently experiencing.
Lastly, what can we expect from you as new Operations Manager?
I’m passionate about teamwork and collaboration across our own teams and business, with our alliance partners and of course with our clients – which means I am always open to suggestions and ideas for how we might be able to do things even better. If you see me around or would like to chat, feel free to reach out to say hi.