DSC’s new operations boss has world of experience
NEW name in town Nick Wellwood, manager general operations at Douglas Shire Council, has so much experience it's a wonder what he’s doing toiling away in little old Mossman.
Beauty, opportunity, innovation, creativity - Mr Wellwood says Douglas Shire has it all, drawing him back to his home state in another chapter of a 30-plus year career in civil engineering.
“I started my career working in the state government – the old main roads department. I started my career in the public sector doing a heap of design work – bridges, roads, all the things main roads used to look after,” he explained.
After working his way through the ranks of the public sector, he moved into private sector.
“I got headhunted and I joined some of the big companies like Macquarie Bank, Lend Lease, Stocklands. Again I rose up through the ranks in those companies.
“Some of these big masterplanned communities like I did with Lendlease and Stockland – they’re effectively creating a township.
“I was involved in the first commencement in a big project in Brisbane called Northlakes, and it’s effectively a town.”
Mr Wellwood said a combined depth of experience in both the public and private sector was ideal for working in a community like Douglas Shire, as he’s able to carry over fundamental understanding of public assets and savvy business practices.
“Obviously in the private sector you look at those things like innovation, you look at the bottom line of cost really carefully, you also look at ways of optimising resources.
“Bringing it back to Douglas, they’re the things that we need to do. We’re a small council and we have to be really savvy how we look after our money.”
He hasn’t just bounced around private companies and the public sector in Australia. Mr Wellwood spent five years as the municipal infrastructure adviser for the government of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
“We had about 5500-6000 staff, very big council. You can imagine the size of the council – it was bigger than Brisbane.”
“Same principals,” though, said Mr Wellwood. “On time, on budget, on quality, on sustainability delivery – those messages apply whether you’re dealing with a $5.5 billion Salam St tunnel, or if you’re doing a $300,000 road project the same level of detail is required.”
Similarities aren’t just in the fundamentals of scalability though. Mr Wellwood explained that Douglas and Abu Dhabi have similar environmental concerns, with the deserts of the Emirate the focus of constant attention to keep pristine.
For now, it’s all about keeping Douglas spick and span with a healthy dose of community spirit.
“You have to have that passion for community – you have to have that passion for community and giving back to the people.
“And in my career that’s where I find my passion, its not in earning the big bucks, its about giving back.
“I’m a Queenslander, I really want to put my roots down in Douglas and be a part of the community.”
Manager general operations Nick Wellwood, Douglas Shire Council