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A Friday note - 13 February 2015

CONNECT - Message from the Chief Executive

Dear All,

Adelaide weather has been fantastic.  Whether by foot, bicycle, bus, train, tram or car the journey to and from work is terrific.  Hotter days, cooler nights.  The city looks fantastic.  Festivals, Clipsal, sport – it is all happening and a great place to be.  We are very lucky.


The government’s agenda looks exciting and this department has some great opportunities.


Thanks to Brian James and Colin Barton I took an evening ride in the driver’s cab on the Seaford line. Fair to say lots of issues have been raised about service improvements. The next meeting of the Railway Commissioner will look to review these issues and better engage our workforce in getting stuff resolved. The need for a consistent and uniform approach to infrastructure and operations is vital to our people and our community. It should also be more fun.


A number of staff attended the Reconciliation SA 7th Anniversary of the National Apology this morning. The department has committed to Reconciliation with the First Peoples of Australia through its Reconciliation Statement of Commitment. We recently announced that we had converted a number of positions to ongoing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. With the employment of a further 10 administrative trainees and three plant operator trainees, we currently have 2% of staff who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.


I am delighted to announce Paul Gelston has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer for the department. Against a tough field of 42 applicants, local and nationally, Mr Gelston best satisfied the selection criteria and I congratulate him accordingly. Paul will begin the role on March 10.
Jodieann Dawe, who has stood in while we considered our best approach, will now work with me and the rejuvenation team and I appreciate her positive approach. The executive is also preparing to provide staff, unions and employee associations with a more detailed timetable for the rejuvenation process. The transition team is developing additional support arrangements for General Managers and Managers having regard to that timetable. The People and Business Division intend to consult on their draft implementation plans in mid-March, followed in turn by the Development and Safety & Service Divisions. There may be directorates within each division which go earlier or later than the rest subject to business needs and readiness. For example, I have asked Vicki Seaman to continue her work in the Information Services area prior to any restructure.
To date more than 200 people have indicated interest in a package.


We have a steady flow of executives leaving the department and I wish to acknowledge their contribution to the department and the State.  I wish them well in the future.  
Glyn Edwards started in 1974 as a graduate in the then Highways Department. His career includes 20 years working on bridge management, design, contract management and project support, and then managing infrastructure projects. Glyn progressed to Major Projects before becoming involved in several rail and tram projects, and then moving onto the Riverbank and North South Corridor projects. Since mid-2014, Glyn has managed Field Services.
Rick Hennig started with us 31 years ago as a graduate engineer in the technical sections of bridge and drainage design, before setting out for rural SA for five years. This is where Rick developed a taste for operations which saw him working in the maintenance, construction and regulation areas of road, bus, and marine operations, and he has led these statewide operations and programs for the last eight years.
Kristina Roberts – Kris was appointed General Manager of the Kangaroo Island Futures Authority in 2012. In this role, Kris has been instrumental in driving the organisation in establishing and implementing strategic priorities and outcomes for Kangaroo Island.
Next week, Michael Sedgman will also be leaving us. Although Michael has been with us for a relatively short time, his leadership in the areas of strategic management and corporate governance has been greatly appreciated.


A note from Marg Howard in the APY lands this week:  “presentation to APY exec well received – shared the workshop with the road project crew and also the lore and cultural training.  12 people in Mimili having their first driving lessons.  Lots of smiles in this community yesterday and today”.  Great stuff and another example of the departmental staff making a direct and real difference to the communities we serve.

Have a good weekend.

Michael Deegan