Seeing the value in our people and giving them opportunities to develop across all areas of our business

Peter McLean

Regional Manager – Power, North

Career snapshot

I started my career as a Design Engineer on the Gold Coast 20 years ago. During the mining boom, I moved to Mackay and started working as a Project Manager on remote mining projects. After a few enjoyable years, my priorities changed and I decided to move into the water sector and eventually back to the Gold Coast to be closer to my family. In 2016, I started working with Zinfra as Senior Project Manager, Water in QLD. Here, I looked after all of Zinfra’s water roles across the state, which included a small but complex suite of projects. As we run a national business, I had the pleasure of being seconded to deliver a project in Tasmania, to provide drinking water to a number of remote towns.

Zinfra later decided to move away from water and I was fortunate to have the backing to move out of water and into a Project Delivery Services Manager position. In this role, I helped drive consistency of delivery across the business, and with the majority of projects being in power, I also had a lot to learn from a technical perspective. Luckily, the job was all about servicing the community and minimising outages, so there were a lot of similarities to my previous roles in water in that way.

At the beginning of 2020 I was given an opportunity to move into an operational role as National Manager – Power.  I’m in this industry because I get a lot of satisfaction out of building things, and there’s lots of opportunity for that in this role. I’ve been interacting with clients more too, but it’s been a challenge in the current environment where we are unable to meet face-to-face in many circumstances.

Working at Zinfra

The flexibility and care we offer our people at Zinfra is better than anywhere else I’ve ever worked. We genuinely look out for one another and the work people do is valued and recognised. I’ve played water polo my entire career, and working at Zinfra feels just like being part of a sporting team. In other palaces, often the boss is the boss and you do what you’re told. But at Zinfra, you’re encouraged to take care of yourself first because we care about your wellbeing, and you’ll likely be much happier and more productive if you do.

One key way Zinfra demonstrates value to its employees is by creating opportunities for advancement and career change within the business. I’ve had 3 distinct roles in just over 4 years at Zinfra because people are willing to put someone who shows promise into roles that might be a stretch for them or not directly aligned with their experience.

We always try to look for the value in people rather than pigeon holing and holding them back. I recently hired a Zinfra IT employee because he had expressed interest in a career in construction. Based on his previous experience he wasn’t an obvious candidate, but we decided to give him a shot based purely on his attitude, and so far he is doing really well.

Diversity and inclusion

In my capacity as a manager, I’ve hired 20 people over the past 18 months – all very different people. We’ve been working hard to attract women into engineering roles to increase our ratio of female project engineers in what is typically a male dominated field.

At present, engineering graduates are coming through at roughly 20 males to 1 female, but we are hoping to pull more into the industry - and to work at Zinfra more specifically - by offering flexibility to our employees in terms of work/life balance. In my area alone, we are lucky to have a female project manager and 2 female project engineers.

Career opportunities

Our graduate programs offer a fantastic start for those getting into the industry. They are designed to grow and support new graduates by giving them the tools and foundation they’ll need to become a successful part of the Zinfra business for years to come.

At the moment I have 2 graduates working in my team. The program runs over 2 years and each of the graduates have the great opportunity to work on rotation over that time and discover which areas of the business they most enjoy working in.  

I’m currently supporting a team of graduates working hard to generate a digital solution for inducting contractors. This opportunity will give these graduates a good grounding in end-to-end processes, as well as help them establish networks so they know who to contact for various things as they move into longer-term roles.

We receive wonderful feedback from our graduates and the teams they work for. The majority of graduates choose to continue working at Zinfra beyond the program, because they are grateful to have learnt so much in a short space of time and have a company willing to invest so much in them.