Ross meets his potential with diverse and flexible working opportunities at Aurecon
Ross Hall started out in our business 14 years ago as a fresh graduate.
By building relationships across the business and with the help of mentors, Ross has been able to discover diverse opportunities and meet his potential in different teams.
Ross now has a young family and shares the importance of finding balance to improve mental agility and health.
|Principal – Rail & Mass Transit
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I have always had a love for planes and trains and the mechanical and technical stuff. My dad worked in the power industry, so I had a lot of exposure to that kind of work. And my great-great-grandfather, William Symington, was an engineer in Scotland who designed many things including the Charlotte Dundas – the world’s second successful steamboat. So, I guess you could say engineering is in my blood!
I knew I wanted to be at the frontier of where stuff is created, and not necessarily doing the creating, inventing, or building, and I guess that’s what led me to study aeronautical engineering.
What motivates you?
Being able to pull the rabbit out of the hat and make something great happen. When I first started out my career, I felt I was just doing bits here and there… I craved that meaningful contribution and purpose. Today is the best day of my career and I’m so grateful for that. I know I am going to continue to grow and learn because I love what I do.
How do you spend your time when you’re not at work?
I am right in the family stage – I have a wife and two kids, plus a dog called El Paco. We like anything that involves us spending quality time together. We do lots of outdoor activities like going for walks to the local coffee shop, riding our bikes, my son’s football games, and spending time with family and friends.
I am also a volunteer in the NSW Rural Fire Service and have been since I was 16 and still in school. Now, I’m a Deputy Captain leading crews and driving the trucks. Each year, we have a 60-hour a year minimum requirement but depending on what’s happening, that can increase to hundreds of hours if it’s a busy bushfire season.
It is interesting as I see so many similarities with project management – you’ve got to encourage and lead people to do what you need them to, whether that’s fighting a fire or getting a deliverable out on time.
What does flexibility mean to you? And how has the pandemic changed things?
Flexible working is nothing new for Aurecon as we had policies in place well before the pandemic. Everyone can have a policy, but actions speak louder than words. Our people are living this hybrid way of working. I work to live, not the other way around.
Personally, it means I can split my day differently. I can take the morning to walk the kids to school while they ride their bikes. My challenge is to ensure the kids are happy by the time we arrive at school – I want to set them up for an enjoyable day of learning and fun.
Some days, I choose to be home in afternoon, so I also get to pick them up from school and ask them how their day was. I am able to be there more for my kids. I don’t have to choose between work and family.
I am a big believer that if you have the space to follow your passions and do what you love then that diversity in our days and weeks means we have better mental agility and mental health. And that leads to more engaged and happy people.
Can you talk us through your career journey at Aurecon?
I started at Aurecon as a mechanical engineer in the Power team. At that time, the world didn’t know what to do with power, particularly coal fired power generation, so things were a bit quiet. With that extra time on my hands, I ended up starting a social club in NSW where I got to meet the wider team.
"You can always find opportunity within Aurecon."
After two years, I reached out to the contacts I had made in People team and had an interview for a project design manager role in the Transport team. And I landed it! I’ve been working in this space ever since and have had so many great opportunities to grow and be challenged. I’m now a project manager in the Rail and Mass Transit team and was recently promoted to Principal.
You can always find opportunity at Aurecon. I’d much rather see a colleague follow their passion and join another team within Aurecon, than see them resign and join a competitor.
How have you built success at Aurecon?
I am grateful to have a job that provides enough money to support my family. But a career is so much more than that. At Aurecon, it’s the culture and the people you work with that make a difference. I’ve found things that I’m passionate about and have created a support network around me. Because of that, I have felt supported every step of my career.
What I’ve learnt is that you can’t expect Aurecon to create that for you, you have to create your own safety net through your relationships and mentoring. I’ve had Aurecon‘s Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Risk Officer as my mentors because I mustered up the courage to ask.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Engineering is changing and it’s becoming an increasingly diverse workforce who work on cool projects that are really making a difference. And it feels meaningful because we’re working on projects that will benefit the communities that we live in.
As a consultant, you can build the career you want. If you surround yourself with people that back you and support you, it means that you will always have someone who will take the time to listen to you and help you grow. Be honest about your aspirations and build relationships that will support that growth. And lastly, find a job that allows you to find the balance to live your life, your way.