High Achievers – Haydn O’Leary Engineer, Toowoomba Regional Council
Toowoomba Regional Council, Queensland, began reaping the benefits of its Generator Program when the first candidate who completed the program in 2009, won Queensland Young Engineer of 2018 at the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) Queensland awards ceremony.
Haydn O’Leary began his career as a Scholarship Intern receiving assistance for his university studies and on the job work experience at Toowoomba Regional Council.
Nine years later O’Leary was appointed Project Engineer on the recent reconstruction of Gap Road in Pittsworth, a project valued at $6 million for which he received his IPWEA award.
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Carol Taylor, who nominated O’Leary as an LG Focus High Achiever, said O’Leary displayed great maturity on this project in particular, in which he worked collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to ensure everything was done to achieve success for the project, which was delivered on time and below budget.
“He is an outstanding young man and we are very proud of him,” Cr Taylor said.
O’Leary believes that his early experience at Council proved invaluable to him in his career, particularly early on.
“The scholarship role with Council was my first Engineering role.
“It allowed me to move around a few areas in Council to gain experience.”
He spent most of those years in the Construction and Maintenance Branch, and on completion of the scholarship, accepted a graduate position with Council within the Project Services Branch.
“After spending six months on the Outer Circulating Road Project I accepted a permanent position as the Engineer in Construction and Maintenance South where I have been working for five years.
“I enjoy working in local government as it allows me to have a positive impact on the community in which I live.”
O’Leary describes the catastrophic 2010/2011 Toowoomba region flood as being a particularly memorable experience and one that exemplifies what draws him to public service.
“The Construction and Maintenance South team all pulled together and went above and beyond to make the roads safe and get them reopened as soon as possible, which was vital for the community.
“I remember getting a phone call from my then supervisor at about 4.30am saying that he was going to pick me up at 5.00 because if we didn’t go now we weren’t going to get to work.”
One of the key challenges of O’Leary’s role is time management.
The Construction and Maintenance South technical team provides technical advice to eight crews covering an area about 140km by 70 km as the crow flies.
At times he is required to visit multiple jobsites with a lot of time spent travelling between.
The variety of work requires a broad knowledge base and yet another set of skills come to the fore when dealing with various stakeholders to achieve all the outcomes required.
Some recent projects include Bostock Road Bridge Widening, Gillespie Dam Road Upgrade, and Mally Road Culvert Replacement.
At this stage O’Leary has no aspirations to progress his career outside Toowoomba.
“I am fairly happy working at Toowoomba Regional Council and have no intentions to move on.
“Outside of work I have a strong interest in agriculture and the flexible work arrangements allow me to provide assistance on the family farm at Clifton and partake in my hobby of starting young horses and playing polo.
“Professionally I am planning to complete the requirements to become a Registered Professional Engineer Of Queensland which will open up some more opportunities and challenges in the future.”