DSC’s new op­er­a­tions boss has world of ex­pe­ri­ence

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tibballs

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.”

Pic­ture: SCOTT TIBBALLS

Man­ager gen­eral op­er­a­tions Nick Well­wood, Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil

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