Care Collaborative Pty Ltd
Robert is Director of Care Collaborative Pty Ltd, and is focussed on strategic infrastructure advice, coaching and mentoring C-suite people, and developing high performance teams. He is a Professor of Practice at University of New South Wales.
From 1986 to 1988, he was the Chief Engineer of the National Capital Development Commission (now known as the National Capital Authority) in Canberra, followed by the Head of Public Works in for the ACT Government. More recently, Robert has been heavily involved with Arup Group, having held numerous executive and board positions across the company. Throughout his career, Robert has lived and worked in the UK, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Japan, and Australia.
From 2006-2011 and again since 2018, Robert has been a Director of RedR Australia, a not-for-profit organisation specialising in responding to national disasters. He is also a Director of Common Purpose Charitable Trust (UK).
In 2012, Robert was made a Member of the Order of Australia AM for his services to Engineering, Business, Humanitarian Programs, and Athletics. In 2014, Engineers Australia awarded Robert the Australian Professional Engineer of the Year. In 2015 Robert was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering UK, and in 2018 Robert was made an Honorary Fellow of the Engineers Australia.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
For me it is always about the people. It’s in their eyes, those you work with. The buzz that comes from creating an opportunity, a possibility that did not exists without that voluntary intervention. It could be very small and incremental or large and transformative. It all adds up.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
It is early days, but I think it will lie ahead in my role as a Board member for RedR. I am passionate about RedR (I was on the Board back in 2006-2010 and Chair for the last two years). It is a fantastic organisation doing exceptional work and presenting a great face of Australian engineering to our near and far neighbours.
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
Probably less about my specific technical expertise (as a structural and most recently a civil engineer) and more about working with people, influencing and leading to a purpose. Understanding how to have transformative conversations, to be open to ideas that have come from those conversations and finding a way to implement those ideas has formed the way I work as a volunteer.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
Ah – balance! Well that seems to me to be about choice. To digress slightly, life balance, I never refer to work/life balance because work is part of life, for people lucky enough to be professional engineers is about choice. Work out what you want to do with your life – your purpose, and then make it work. Choose your path!
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Find something that you are passionate about, that fits your life purpose (if you haven’t worked out your life purpose yet – then try to do so) and that you can make a difference with and then do it. Just do it!