Grant Holman was born and bred in Perth and spent his first year of University studying architecture. After a year he decided it wasn’t the career for him so he packed his bags and surfboard and spent some time travelling along the various coasts of Indonesia with some mates in search of some fun and a few waves.
‘I was only 19 and I was having far too much fun to be thinking about my career. Then we met a bloke in one of the remote islands of Indonesia one night and he told me he was working as an engineer and how much he loved it. By the end of the night I’d made my mind up I was going to return to Perth and study engineering. At the time I was excited at the prospect of working in the aeronautical or automotive field. I had little idea that mechanical engineering was also required in the design and construction of buildings,’ says Grant.
In 2000 Grant graduated from The University of WA, began working in the Perth office of WGE in early 2001 and less than two years later, put his hand up for a transfer to Melbourne to be one of just three staff members in the newly established Melbourne office of WGE. In less than three years at the age of 28 he was offered a management role and equity in the firm.
‘This was a real turning point for me,’ reflects Grant. ‘Being offered equity after less than five years of being with the firm, was recognition that the Directors valued me as an employee and my willingness to take a risk by leaving home and moving to the other side of the country for the company.’
Fast track to 2013, and Grant is now a Board member and the Manager of the Melbourne office, which has now grown to a staff of over 80. Besides becoming an owner in the company, which Grant cites as one of his greatest career achievements, he’s also been able to develop both his technical and general management skills.
‘Opportunities abound here for people that want to excel in this profession and build long-‐term fulfilling careers. WGE is in my DNA and I think I am part of the fabric of the company now. I think I’ll be here forever and even when I retire, I reckon I’ll be helping out in some way, perhaps mentoring new graduates in the firm or something that is of value to the firm,’ says Grant.
At WGE the people are their difference, and underpinning this is the shareholder structure, the culture and values they share and their dedication to every project they work on. They have no hierarchical structure or closed-‐door offices and they actively cultivate the WGE community not just for staff but with clients too.
‘If I could give one piece of advice for young guns that might consider working here, it would be that challenges create opportunities, to never say never and to give everything the best that you’ve got. Genuinely care about others and be prepared to work hard for what you want – you never know what might happen,’ ends Grant.