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David Barnes

David Barnes, Aurecon

David Barnes is Aurecon’s Market Director for Government and Defence with more than 25 years’ experience in Defence procurement, capability development and management, project management, acquisition and training.


What drives you?

Defence is always about national security and so it attracts people and companies who are motivated to ensure this. This means the why of the projects we work on with our clients is always very clear.

As an industry, Defence is facing some serious challenges – technology, costs, resources and increasing tempo of delivery. This means that Defence is an industry that never sits still, and I am driven to ensure that we are part of that change and that we help even more clients in this industry successfully deliver their projects and get the best outcomes every time. 

Your most challenging project? And why?

It would have be the Defence Logistics Services project. Aurecon was engaged as a consultant to the Department of Defence and we were challenged to meet a very ambitious programme and deliver about a year and a half worth of work in six months.

We mobilised a huge team incredibly quickly and ran a considerable number of tasks in parallel which meant we needed to be adaptable and, most of all, willing to work hard. It was big integrated project team with Defence and multiple consultants all working very hard to deliver.

It nearly killed us and there were many late nights and a lot of travel but we delivered on time without any compromises in quality of advice. I was challenged every day and learnt that you can be surprised by what you can achieve, when everyone pulls together.

Keys to a successful project delivery.

Communication is number one. It doesn’t mean that people, or the right skills and experience don’t matter, but I have worked on a lot of projects and the ones that were successful were always the ones where communication was part of the team DNA. Clients demand it, or should, and great projects use it as the lifeblood that delivers success and innovation.

The most important lesson you learnt early in your career.

To always focus on the outcome, not the process. Too often people lose sight of what the projects they are working on are trying to achieve because the process seduces them.

One of the great challenges facing the defence industry is...

Finding the right people with the right skills and experience is a huge challenge for the industry going forward - both for government and the private sector. We are competing against a booming resources sector, and the strengths of the people who work in this industry are what make them so attractive to the Resources sector.

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