First published 21 January 2020

Jackson Campbell’s real-world learning experiences – and willingness to say yes to every opportunity – have landed him his dream job working for a global construction and consultancy firm in London.

While having lived and worked in the UK since 2016, Jackson cut his teeth working on several landmark projects in Australia including the Rio Tinto iron ore mine sustaining project in Yandicoogina and New Farm Riverwalk in Brisbane. Now an Associate Director at Mace, he’s currently working on phase two of the £1.4 billion Battersea Power Station redevelopment – a seven-phase £8 billion project – and will shortly be moving to New York to work on the renovation of the Tiffany & Co Fifth Avenue flagship store.

Jackson's currently working on phase two of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment in London

Having completed his Bachelor of Engineering in 2013, Jackson has gained a wealth of experience in just seven short years.

We recently asked him to share more about his time since graduating and his best piece of career advice for fellow graduates.

How did you make the leap from engineering to working in commercial management for a global firm?

I was first employed as a Site Engineer with the John Holland Group, where one of my first projects was working on the New Farm Riverwalk. I then moved into Project Engineer roles for a Rio Tinto iron ore mine sustaining project and Sundrop Farms project.

While I enjoyed being on site, I always seemed to gravitate towards contract negotiation and management, project finances, and risk management. I eventually gained more experience in those sides of the business and shifted my focus to pursue commercial and construction management as a career path.

From there, I moved from management consulting to quantity surveying and eventually into commercial management. Coming from an engineering background, my technical and practical experience on site has given me a number of advantages over traditionally trained commercial managers.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

In my current role I’m fortunate to interact with a wide range of project stakeholders, including clients, architects, engineers, the local authority, contractors, consultants, and lawyers. These extend all the way from graduates to CEOs.

I also enjoy the project management side – resolving complex disputes (and knowing you’ve saved the client significant time and cost) is always satisfying.

What’s your best piece of career advice?

Say yes to every opportunity.

I would not have had the opportunities I’ve had without saying yes to things others have said no to.

For example, early on in my career I relocated to Port Augusta in South Australia to work on a $160 million climate-controlled, 20 hectare greenhouse facility. I also agreed to working a fly-in fly-out roster to Pilbara in Western Australia to work on a $110 million Rio Tinto mining project.

Jackson was the Project Engineer on Sundrop Farms' climate-controlled, 20 hectare greenhouse facility

What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

Work-life balance has always been a difficult one for me – balancing my studies and/or work with social pursuits and a healthy and active lifestyle. Over time, I’ve implemented strategies to become more efficient with my time. I try to “leave work at work” and work smarter not harder.

Any advice for current students?

If you can, take advantage of QUT’s student exchange programs.

During my studies I had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom for 12 months.

Taking the leap to study overseas will see you step outside your comfort zone, develop an international network of friends, and open your mind to the diversity of ideas outside of Australia. It was the most beneficial experience of my degree.

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