On Friday 24 August, BE and the Australian Institute of Building (AIB) hosted the first BBQ with the Boss at UNSW.  Paul Spinolo, BE Alumnus and Group General Manager of APP, gave a presentation to Construction Management & Property students about studying at UNSW and his experiences in the property and construction industry.

Paul graduated from a Bachelor of Building in 1979 and commented on the differences in culture between then and now.  The music was different, the clothes were different and there weren’t many females in his class.  The one thing that has remained the same is the opportunity to nurture relationships with fellow students.  As Paul pointed out, you never know who the future leaders will be and there’s a good chance you’re sitting next to one of them in your lectures.  He encouraged the students to get to know each and to get to know the people starting in the workforce with them.  Start relying on each other and build a network of support that can carry through their entire careers.  Paul showed a group photo taken on one of his first jobs and in that shot is a person who turned out to be a lifelong associate and friend.

Even though there are many challenges in the property and building industry right now, Paul advised students to start working at anything, anywhere within their chosen discipline.  A key to success for Paul was building a network of good colleagues who relied on each to help do the work.  He also suggested getting to know the aspects of your discipline:  who are the suppliers, the sub-contractors, the consultants, the advisors?  If you know who these people are and what they each do, you will really understand the processes.  This will enable you to provide a quality of service, no matter what your role. 

Paul asked the students to consider these words when building their careers:

What to do:
ATTENDANCE – be present in life. Attend the lectures, attend the meetings.  If you’re not there, you’re missing out.  Own it.
AWARENESS – really understand what is going on around you.  Take notice of what is happening in not only your own area, but all areas that feed into your work.
INVOLVEMENT – give it your all.  Strive to learn all you can and lead the way.  Respect those around you and enjoy the journey.

How to do it:
VALUES – use your judgement.  If you see something that’s not right, then call it.  Follow what is right in your heart. 

As part of the APP Corporation, Paul has built his own career on this approach and is now part of a successful leadership team.  APP has managed many major projects such as ANZ Docklands, Melbourne; Australia Post, Strathfield; Westpac, Kent St, Sydney; and The Darling Hotel (Star), Sydney – just to name a few.  Even though he has worked his way up to an executive level, Paul stressed the importance of understanding what is going on around him, being well-informed about each project and, perhaps most importantly, continuing to develop and foster his networks.

BE would like to thank Paul for his time and for all the advice he has given to our students.  After his seminar, the group moved to the Naked Lady Lawn for a sausage sizzle and the students (and staff!) had the opportunity to have one-to-one talks with Paul.

BE would also like to thank AIB for facilitating the BBQ, especially Paul Heather for coordinating the event.

For more information on APP, please visit their website.