Diver

Lawyer

Videographer

Teacher

Is engineering the career for you? Get some great insights and advice from Gavin

Is engineering the career for you? Get some great insights and advice from Gavin

Gavin Frost, BOP Regional Manager at Beca Ltd

What did you want to be when you were 16?
An Engineer. I liked fixing things, building things with my Dad and helping him fix the car. That said, most of my childhood I thought I would be a vet!

What did you end up doing when you left school?
University study, then straight into a Structural Engineering career.

Describe a day in your life at work:
Each day can be very different which makes my job interesting. I can be involved in technical (structural) work and be helping to coordinate our multi-discipline project delivery, pursuit of new work through discussions with our clients and preparation of proposals, discussion and follow up on H&S initiatives and events, involvement in community projects and keeping abreast of what our teams are doing and what is happening in the Bay of Plenty.

Why do you love your job/career?
Nearly all facets of everyday life rely on good Engineering and our company purpose is to “make everyday better”!
Our clients’ organisations are extremely varied and therefore so is the work that we help them with. Along with our clients, we work with contractors and other organisations to bring their projects to life and there is always the satisfaction of having helped create something worthwhile. There are often challenges along the way and that is where good discussion and communication helps a lot. I work with many talented people at Beca and within the organisations, we work for and alongside. Each brings different skill sets and perspectives to a team to help achieve something we are all proud of when it is complete. Within Beca I get great satisfaction helping to develop others’ careers and watching the many young people grow into great young professionals.

  
How did you get into your career?
I spent my first two years working in Auckland, designing structures and carrying out site inspections under the guidance of some great Engineers before answering a call for people to move to Australia to help our business there. I spent a year in Adelaide, 3 years in Melbourne and a year in Sydney. The Bay of Plenty was next and by then I’d had a good grounding in all facets of structural design and project delivery.
 
What qualifications did you study?
Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) specialising in structural.
 
Do you have any advice for getting into your sector?
There will always be a strong demand for collaborative problem solvers and creative thinkers with an Engineering discipline. You may become a generalist with a broad knowledge of many things. You may become a specialist and, since NZ is a very small place, you could find you become one of a handful of people who are truly specialists in a particular field. You may find that you become a people leader or develop a strong interest in health and safety or enjoy teaching others and become a trainer. Each of these roles is important and each has the potential to carry you to the top levels of NZ organisations. There is the scope to become whatever your strengths lead you to become but all roles benefit from an understanding of what others do and what you can achieve as a cohesive team.

What do you wish you had done differently?
When I was 22 and in Australia, a retired Italian concrete worker said to me one Saturday on our construction site when we were the only ones left. “You know what? I tell you something. You no work too much!  Take it from me, I have worked my whole life. Make sure you no work too much!” He was waving his finger at me and meant what he said. There have certainly been times when I have not followed his guidance and getting the balance right is often a challenge. Reflecting on that perhaps more travel in my earlier years would have been good.

What would you say to your teenage self about defining your future?
Keep an open mind and learn as fast as you can – not just about Engineering but about the world, about people and about the other things that matter most to you. Follow your instinct and be bold in your contribution to the world. Your career can take you in any direction, so let your passion guide you so that you are sustained by it. If you lose it, change direction.

Most importantly, along the way, look after the people you come in contact with.