Just so you know, I’m not a civil engineer: Ed’s Employee Story


Ed initially joined Woods to assist with the project management of the Long Bay Tunnel project. Now, he is building up a team and helping Woods to expand the infrastructure side of the company. Curious about what it’s like to work at Woods? Read Ed’s story as he reflects on joining Woods and why it’s a great place to work.

When I was first offered a job with Woods to work on the Long Bay Tunnel project, I was very clear: I'm not a civil engineer, I'm a mechanical and hydraulics engineer. I'd come from an aeronautical background and then gone into mechanical and Thermal engineering – civil engineering was not my field.

Woods’ Director Brian Flood said, it doesn’t matter. You’re exactly the type of person we want for this job.

At the time, I had just finished working at Aurecon as a mechanical engineer and my then-manager had recommended me to Brian for the job.

Brian explained that he wasn’t looking for a civil engineer – he was looking for someone with contractual project management experience - to work alongside the contractor to push the project to completion for Woods and the client.

Well, that was me. I had gained a lot of experience in project management contracting before returning to consulting. So I said, just as long as you are fully aware I’m not a civil engineer and you know my background, I’m in.

I went straight out to the site, worked out of an on-site office, and stayed there until the project was complete. It was great. I fully enjoyed the onsite work and challenges the project brought and, in the end, it turned out well. I was also given the opportunity to work on the pump station at Long Bay which I’d actually been involved in the design of back at Aurecon.

“I’m a bit of an oddball, but I’m still able to develop within my own field and progress at Woods.”

Over the years, I’ve been given opportunities to work on projects best suited to my qualifications and specialisation – infrastructure – as well as opportunities to get involved in really interesting projects across the board. Even though I consider myself a bit of an oddball at Woods – I’m not a planner, surveyor, urban designer, or civil engineer – I’m still able to develop within my own field and progress. Woods is one of the few consulting companies that will assist you with your development and push you to progress and learn both in your own field and beyond.

I’m constantly building my knowledge and upskilling and I’m slowly learning more about the civil side of the work we do – it’s been really interesting. I went back to University to complete a Business management degree that expanded my knowledge of the workings of the business outside of the technical areas. Now that the infrastructure side of Woods is expanding, I’m also upskilling in different areas of Water Engineering, such as the three waters, Wastewater, Bulk Water and Storm Water pump stations, reservoirs, treatment plants, etc, etc.

It makes me happy to know that I’ve got opportunities to progress with a wide and expanding workload; there are always new things to learn and experience at Woods.

When I think about working at Woods, I think about the great people I work with.”

When I think about the company, I think about the great people I work with, the people-centric leadership, the great culture, and the great atmosphere.

Woods work hard to find people who are the right fit for the culture and because of that, we’re more than just a bunch of employees working together – even as the company has grown. We all get on really well, work well together, and spend a lot of time together – both at work and outside of work; the social side at Woods is excellent.

One of the things that makes me happiest at Woods is that the directors really do view us as a family, and they work hard to make sure we’re okay. We’re all on a first-name basis with the directors and can approach management directly with any issues. It’s not a large, corporate, over-sized company where you lose your identity and become another number.

Brian is a good friend as much as he is my boss and a Director, Dan our CEO, has been regularly emailing us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to check-in on us, give us assurance and update us, or remind us about keeping well or to take some time to relax if we need it. When you have that kind of management, it makes your life a lot happier and working with them is easier because you can approach them on anything.

So, when people ask me what it’s like to work at Woods, I say, I’m pretty good here. If you enjoy working for a company that cares about you and your family, takes care of you at work and recognises your achievements, and encourages you to develop and progress – maybe you should consider working at Woods. It’s pretty good.

Ed Ryan - Engineer