High achiever - Ben Clark Adelaide City Council Lead Strategic Asset Management

Article image - High achiever - Ben Clark Adelaide City Council Lead Strategic Asset Management Ben Clark received the IPWEA 2019 Young Emerging Leader award from CEO Cathy Morcom in Hobart.

In a time when Local Government is beset by a shortage of skilled professionals and an  aging workforce faced with rapidly evolving and increasingly technical business frameworks, a group of young professionals are stepping forward to take on the challenges of the future.

Awarded Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) 2019 Young Emerging Leader, at the biyearly conference in Hobart in August, and voted Chair of the Young IPWEA (YIPWEA), Ben Clark, is excited by the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Four months into his current role as City of Adelaide Lead, Strategic Asset Management, Clark said, “I was drawn to local government for its ability to impact the community and the Asset Management discipline allows me to play a role in ensuring that our communities are sustainable for generations to come.

“The public works sector and in particular my field of Asset Management is continuing to change and develop as our communities change and develop.

“The future of the Asset Management industry is heading towards a focus on turning data into knowledge and wisdom that can be used to predict what our future city will look like, and how can we do this in a sustainable way that doesn’t leave a legacy that inhibits future generations’ ability to continue to grow and change with the community.

“City of Adelaide is a unique council in that we have a limited amount of residents but a significant number of users that come to the city on a daily basis.

“The City of Adelaide appealed to me for their drive to have a city that is designed for life.

“The designed for life philosophy is that everything we do is about building a city designed for life, centred around a simple yet intrinsically significant desire, to create inspiring and enriching lives and improve the wellbeing and quality of life for our community.”

Clark began his career in local government at City of Salisbury, as an Assets Technical Officer after starting out in surveying in the private sector.

He moved to City of Tea Tree Gully, as Strategic Assets Coordinator where he was responsible for the role out and transformation of Asset Management within the organization.

“My role at Tea Tree Gully allowed me to drive an organizational change program in relation to Asset Management and included the implementation of a new Asset Management System and mobility solutions for field staff.”

Clark said being voted YIPWEA Chair comes at a good time. He feels fortunate for the opportunity to build on the hard work of the previous chairs.

“We have a huge opportunity to continue to build the momentum we have built with the review and updating of our Value Proposition and to implement some new initiatives that will help to support and encourage young professionals to extend themselves and help our communities.”

Already thinking about supporting the next generation of leaders he was involved in developing the YIPWEA Coffee Cup Challenge which is designed to help young and experienced professionals to come together and share knowledge, ideas and develop a relationship that is mutually beneficial and ultimately helps the public works sector as a whole.

“I gain a real sense of pride and satisfaction in knowing that the little changes I have helped to support are going to realise real benefits for the community and that young professionals are given the opportunities to develop and impact those same communities.”

Clark was very humbled by being awarded Young Emerging Leader.

“There are many young professionals doing amazing things throughout Australia and New Zealand.

“[Receiving the recognition]… reinforces my passion for young professionals and my keen interest in seeing the industry recognize the value that young professionals bring.”

Clark’s plans for the future include being heavily involved in the City of Adelaide’s Asset Management Transformation Program which he thinks will provide real benefits for the organization and the community.

He also hopes to help drive the initiatives identified by YIPWEA and to continue to increase the level of involvement and opportunities that young professionals experience in the public works sector.