Quick Chat with Dan Spackman, Regional Manager of SMEC in the ACT.
Dan Spackman has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Wollongong. He started his career as an engineer in 2000 and has worked in Australia and the UK on a variety of construction and design projects, including Icon Water’s Cotter Googong Bulk Water Transfer (2005), Melbourne Water’s Tarago Water Treatment Plant (2009), SA Water’s Central Pipeline (2012), National Capital Authority’s Scrivener Dam Anchor Bolt Remediation Project (2012) and Icon Water’s Tertiary Filter Upgrade Project (2017).
What is your current job title and function?
Regional Manager – ACT, SMEC.
Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
I spent much of my youth camping around the Canberra region, and was always inspired by the Snowy Scheme. When I completed my engineering degree, this inspiration largely influenced my decision to specialise in water. Ironically, today I manage the local Canberra business for SMEC, a company that has a rich history associated with the Snowy Hydro, which inspired me to take this path at the beginning.
What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
The Tarago Water Treatment Plant was a greenfield water treatment plant for which I was Superintendent’s Representative in a collaborative contracting model. Due to the fast-tracked program associated with anticipated water shortages, the challenge was delivering a design and construct contract in a construct-only contracting model. It was through this project that I discovered the power of relationships and project partnerships.
What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
Encouraging emerging talent to pursue a direction in technical excellence, rather than viewing Project Management or Business Management as the only paths to career advancement.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you like to have with you?
A helicopter, enough fuel to get me out of there and a helicopter pilot.
If the whole world was listening, what would you say?
Use only what you need.
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpower to be?
To be able to play guitar like Eric Clapton, Tommy Emmanuel and Slash all rolled into one.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Unsuccessfully attempting to play guitar like Eric Clapton, Tommy Emmanuel and Slash all rolled into one.
What is the best piece of advice your parents gave you?
“When you find yourself in a faraway land, remember who you are and where you came from. It will help you to remain grounded and true to yourself.”
Who is your hero?
What makes you laugh?
Eddie Murphy’s stand-up comedy from the early 80s. Yes, I know I need to move on, but it gets me every time.
Image: Dan Spackman, Regional Manager – ACT, SMEC.