On this episode of the NewyTechPeople Podcast we share the best bits from our interviews this year.
Hope you enjoy the episode!
Nathan Hookway: the culture at Zimple Digital.
Mitch Brindle: the key skills to build a team.
Justin Bain: What problems do you solve?
What advice would you give to someone that is currently working in a traditional infrastructure stack?
Ryan Priest: How did you start a career in technology?
Daniel Pludek: What are your opinions on the Newcastle technology scene to date?
Aaron & Witold: what are you proud of?
David Lynch: the team and culture at oas.
On episode 58 we have Nathan Hookway.
Linda: so what can you tell us about the culture and what it’s like to work at Zimple?
Nathan: it’s fun it really is it’s um we’ve got a we’ve got a good group of people in there i guess from an academic or a theoretical point of view we’re probably like a clan culture mixed with a market culture so kind of like a corporate family where everyone’s ideas are sort of valued i mean everyone gets an opportunity to put forward ideas and and discuss things um we’re pretty flat in that regard but then from a market perspective um everyone prides themselves on being a professional and driving themselves and driving results for the clients so it’s a combination of those two elements probably front-facing with the client it’s the the market culture um but internally yeah it’s it’s it’s a pretty good place to be yeah good i know i’ve um i know a fair few people that work at simple and they’ve enjoyed working there yeah yeah and that’s um culture’s a funny thing it’s not necessary i’m learning over the years it’s not something that you can dictate or sort of put a slogan on the wall and then everyone just buys into that vision and that culture yeah exactly taken time to get the right mix of people into the business it’s no good coming from director level so that’s no good myself blake orion saying okay this is where it needs to be we’ll set the financial and growth targets for the business and my role then is to facilitate the team and letting that culture reveal itself and it’s done that it’s taken a long time but yeah we’ve got there good and you touched on sort of attributes that are really important to you in terms of those soft skills is there anything else when you’re looking to hire people that you that’s really must have our growth to date hasn’t really been offered a specific formula in terms of acquisition of new staff i majoritively will will be the one leading that new hire the first thing i’m looking for is team fit that’s that’s always the the first thing and generally you can pick up on that in the first 10 minutes or so and then closely followed by that is the skill set of the individual to understand whether or not they can meet the demands of the role yeah um yeah so i i heard a good saying it’s hiring new persons like giving the keys to your house and letting someone in taking care of your kids and it’s kind of on the the gatekeeper there because i i understand that the wrong person in in a role can have a bad effect on the business yeah and obviously you know where i was explaining to you before we’re hiring at the moment as well and we’re really protective of our culture and it’s really important that the next people that come into new tech people as well are going to add positively to the culture and i think that’s really yeah okay you don’t have to all be the same personality type that’s for sure but that’s the challenge you know is diversity is really important yeah diversity of thought diversity of people that’s the sort of that’s the zeitgeist of the business i guess it’s sort of it’s it’s a collection of individuals that you know come together in our case to be simple the gravity that comes from that but we’re finding word of mouth is a just the same way it would be in marketing word of mouth is quite a strong driver for new new hires yeah um you’ve had a couple of people come back as well yeah people want to work in a place with good people that are professional and you know they’re driving towards an absolutely yeah and is there any productivity tools that you guys use as a team yeah yeah so what works for you guys from a team perspective operationally we use stream time as our sort of project management software so that is that specific to advertising or i’ve never heard of it yeah it’s it’d be akin to like a monday.com or okay it can be repurposed for multiple industries it tracks our productivity our burn rate and all of our projects how we’ve costed the project who’s working on it how it finished and it archives all that information so in conjunction with that i use a program called magnify that our accounts maximum accounting and advisory um put us on to so i bring the capacity side of the productivity and efficiency side of the operational execution into our projections and it gives us a pretty clear picture of the future so that drives a lot of the growth being able to forecast three six twelve months into the future and then just be constantly navigating around where we are relative to that target makes my job pretty easy i’ll have to talk to you about that later yeah it’s it’s james and i are thinking you know we need to improve those back office systems yeah well we we spent a lot of time ryan’s uh an electrical engineer by qualification so he’s um he put together a whole suite of um spreadsheets that we’re using for a number of years there to sort of track where we’re at and where we’re going and we built a back-end system blake led an internal project called the zamp that was um used for a number of years which helped us to step to where we are now and that that was tracking a lot of our stuff but this this program integrates all of that and it uses um apis to pull in information from different areas and yeah we haven’t looked back yeah good so i know you’ve got a pretty strong growth trajectory for this year yeah which may often open up opportunities for career development for others is there any particular areas that you support your staff with learning or professional development yeah so there’s a number of our team that are just by their own motivation studying so i had a strategy is doing psychology um yeah uh content producers doing law which is interesting um i’m doing my masters as as i said earlier so we’re pretty broad in terms of education we support that our videographers on the path to studying robotics at um university as well yeah so that’s been quite a good hire and a new introduction of service offering um through video and photography at simple which is really exciting that’s something that’s going to form a big part of our growth as we recognize pretty early in the piece that video is a primary form of communicating yeah and that ramped up certainly during yeah yeah yeah the trend towards um the way that people consume content and and the time video is going to be integral to that so yeah we’re pretty excited to have have garf on board he had his own business for eight years so he’s bringing a lot of energy to the team which is good but outside of my traditional education paths monthly we hold lunch and learns so that’s just where a team member will get up and talk about their specific role and then that becomes an open forum where everyone can ask questions and help to understand you know what what an account manager is doing versus a developer versus content yeah yeah great on
James: episode 59 we have mitch brindle
there’s definitely that that that mix between technology and business where communication is absolutely paramount on that no then you’re you’re obviously building a team managing a team these days uh what are some of the key skills you look for in in the people that you’re looking for in in building out your cloud team.
Mitch: yeah look i guess our team’s doubled inside over over the past two years i believe now and i guess when i’ve been hiring i don’t really look for a specific skill set it’s kind of more of the individual you know like yeah having a fundamental knowledge on stuff is fantastic but essentially that’s that’s not everything the one thing that we do at nab and specifically myself is we’ll hire for that cultural side of things but also that that straight drive you know let’s be real people work to to live right you know you want you know someone who’s going to be you know putting in what they essentially can to either learn the skills or they’ve got the passion to learn the skills to be able to deliver whatever the business wants so i guess if i had to name summers because obviously i aws fantastic or any cloud stuff a development background is good too but infrastructure is good too the last couple highs was a mixed bag we had some that was a dev some that was infrastructure dev one guy that hadn’t even seen aws really before now he’s running the show so it’s like it’s kind of it’s it’s more around when we go through the recruitment process and we sort of ask our questions etc is how it gets answered and especially it’s always interesting as like when you kind of you know start that whole process and and you start talking to you know engineers that are wanting to join et cetera it’s the ones that when they start talking about their previous workplace wherever it may be or even a problem at home like someone said oh look i’m doing stuff at home and i’m getting agitated it’s the ones that when you see they’ve got a problem they are very you know animated on how to fix it and you see them they start to adjust themselves in their chair because you can tell they’re getting a bit passionate and worked up over it so when you kind of start to reading the body language on like you really you know like that process that you’re talking about that you aren’t allowed to fix at your workplace currently or whatever it may be you know you not only know how to fix it but it bothers you that it’s not fixed so just knowing that essentially tells me it’s like well you’re probably going to do something about that then or you’re going to want to do something about you’re just going to go ah that’s the way it is or look just another day it’s that you know you want to it’s as cringy as but you know be the change you want to be all sort of stuff but you want to legit make it change and that’s where nib like you know we want people like that straight up it is it is 100 you know we’re not going to give you a jira board full of tickets to do they may look like that but you know we’ve got projects on but if you see something that you don’t like or you’re not happy with change it yeah you’re encouraged to actually you are encouraged to spit the pill and come and tell me hey this i can i don’t think this is the best way to do it i’ve done blah blah blah here’s the thing look i think this is the best way to do it let’s do it as simple as that and there’s numerous examples of that going through nib and i think that’s when i be you know ken can retain these like very passionate skilled hungry people because we give that opportunity yeah my problem solving is probably you know one of the biggest biggest parts you’ve mentioned there right somebody that actually does get agitated by a problem and will find a way to fix it i think that’s that’s that’s something in technology as a whole i think problem solving people that are actually passionate about it because i said like technology changes so quickly whether they’ve got uh whether they’ve got experience of the current tech stack or not it’s going to continue to evolve anyway so they’re going to have to learn within the next three six 12 months anyway so them not having every box ticked from a tech stack perspective on day one it’s not the biggest issue it’s have you shown you know an aptitude to learn in the past like i’ll solve a problem i think that they’re the sort of things that i know that have worked in your teams in the past yeah just honest that problem solving is good probably the one thing with problem solving it’s there’s with problem solving i guess the one thing that we also don’t ex well i don’t expect really is you don’t need to solve it on your own either like i guess don’t don’t forget like what we’re doing is some stuff maybe a bleeding edge nothing’s like you know mostly cutting edge there’s probably someone in the business someone around that might be able to help you yeah so i guess you know with the problem solving it’s like a fantastic skill to have and naturally enough like you need it but i guess it’s also being able to admit when a problem when you’re defeated it’s when that problem has defeated you that you now as a person can kind of admit to figure some people tend to not really like you know they don’t want to go i can’t do this i need help and then if you’re only asking in a public forum they may not want to look silly so that’s kind of a thing as well so it’s been able to um again solve problems but then realize you can’t solve it because you just can’t find the resources or whatever it may be nothing against your technical or whatever ability that you’re struggling with at the moment to like solve this but then able to ask for help from your peers or whatever it may be so yeah that’s that’s another really big one.
James: on episode 60 we have Justin bain
what does your project mean for mining companies or for the the actual machines themselves what problem do you solve there.
Justin: yeah so three words would be safety performance and sustainability yeah so i guess diving into the safety aspect uh you think of an underground mine you know you’ve got a you’ve got miners down there surrounded by vehicles that are pumping out diesel exhaust there’s heat you know it’s noisy and then you think about replacing that vehicle with a battery electric vehicle that is almost silent so very quiet heat generation is reduced significantly which impacts a lot on the ventilation infrastructure we’re trying to pump air conditioning down into these mines someone’s giving me the analogy one day about you know blowing down down straws and you know the further you get down the mine and the pressure and trying to keep these places ventilated so you know we’re creating that uh removing the diesel particulate matter which is a known carcinogenic you know like asbestos yeah we’re creating a quieter environment from a uh hearing perspective yeah and a more enjoyable environment i mean the platforms you know drive better the one challenge is meeting the the duty cycles for for the range and we’ve been able to to do that through on-board charging infrastructure at the voltage for the underground mines so effectively every every location where they have these these jumbos or these dcbs becomes your charging network there are ah so this is uh you mentioned you still early ish in in this is uh we’ve got multiple vehicles out there running this at the moment is that where we’re at yeah so the bortana ev safescape our partner they’ve they’ve deployed that underground in in bendigo underground over in wa the beta phase is in is in full swing so those platforms will be ramping up on mines uh this year the the tri-tev uh the 20-ton large 20-ton loader is in its in its beta phase so there’s you know what is on the books and platforms getting getting built nice fantastic building a lot of that here in cardiff and then shipping it out yeah that’s right so i think that was on the safety side of things performance i think we covered in terms of you know the electric motors is you know instant instant torque and they’re far more efficient than combustion engines so the performance and the combining that those digital motors with our software profiles you’re able to uh have a road map to autonomy uh and and get a much much better performance out of the platforms all right you know sustainability is is a core focus of the business obviously reducing reducing the greenhouse gas emissions through taking those diesel platforms out of operations quite exciting seeing a lot of mining companies moving to having solar arrays and offsetting their their greenhouse gas emissions with renewables yeah and then i think you mentioned at some point to me in a different conversation about i guess saving some machines from you know the end of life as well and the potential to give them a longer life is that another part yeah that’s right so the the platforms we do achieve a lower total cost of of ownership and the retrofit model so what some of the platforms are working on we’ll take a second hand one in conjunction with our partner we’ve got a great partner over in hexam batmobile equipment yeah you know they’ll prepare a platform we’ll supply equipment we’ll collaboratively retrofit that commission it and deploy it into operation so yeah it’s a second life opportunities uh whilst we’re churning through the retrofit phase and designing new platforms wow that’s nice on top of that project as exciting as that is there any other projects you’d love to talk about yeah so another one in the public domain is one called c4 edge so it’s a military project the evolutionary digital ground uh environment is the is the edge part and the c4 is the command controls computers communications i think could probably get smashed by some marine mates sorry military mates on uh getting an acronym wrong after all my time in communications but uh yeah it’s a really exciting project where we’ve got 17 australian companies collaboratively working together to deliver a sovereign communications solution so battle management system solution and what does that look like for people that have no idea yeah so a battle management system is um it’s like your common common operating picture or your or your your tracker you know so if you think of this tv screen there you you know you turn it on you can see where people are you can communicate across the force you know there’s radios involved there’s data involved it’s it’s quite a complex network um and our part in that project is the battery system so the soldier soldier level system and then progressing to an interoperable battery unit system wow how do these opportunities come about obviously you’re in a multiple different fields now and you know going down the marine path as well how’s that growth come about for 3m yeah i think you know one thing kind of leads to another in in certain situations with this particular c4 edge project we were asked to present today at a showcase for a land tender uh of which we did and of which we’ve had some some positive progression in in that space as well and then that led on to an introduction and and we managed to um yeah to put our capability forward you know having having the operational background does cut through a lot of uh requirements because you don’t you don’t have to go on that steep learning curve of you know what’s required how does it fit in yeah we can you know from a battery perspective we can say we’ve you know we’ve carried this [ __ ] around we’re going to make it lighter and more energy dense than than our competitors yeah i’m australian yeah and as you said before i guess it just ties into what is the core of what you do you know exactly what you do and then you know you use that as you’re in and then you can build upon that right so very nice on episode 61 we have ryan priest so how did you come about starting a career in technology and what was the main interest for you at the time yeah so when you asked me that question i think about remote control cars so i remember had this little like yellow remote control car my dad bought it for christmas um loved it made a little like backyard sort of thing drove the car over it and dodging trees and things i think i was more like more fascinated on the fact that i can hold a remote yet have this little thing drive around and yeah and then i was like straight on my brain’s like going how’s it doing that how how is there a signal coming from this to that and so young at that point and then like i was saying earlier is the dial up modem days mom and dad got me one for christmas and you know i thought i was the bee’s knees because i was on on the internet um and you know you make a thousand jokes around that the whole noise of it dialing up the people on the phone how long it took just to download an image yada yada but it was unreal so cool it was like like what is this new world right and then then video games started becoming you know real mainstream you know the playstation days but for me it was like you know how how are they doing this like i remember just asking how are they doing this and and then um as i was starting to get older i started asking um more questions around uh this was like when microsoft were really pushing their server systems right okay and uh you know i was always fascinated like just the fact that you could go to a computer in like a business and you could like put in a username and password i remember this very clearly put in a username and password watch my mom was a school teacher and i think i went into school one day and she logged into her computer user and password and i’m thinking how do they manage that how do they manage like thousands of users across all these different schools and then i you know and then what i started doing was is um this was back in the day when you could log on to microsoft’s website and you could request trials of like microsoft server or server nt server 2000 microsoft exchange but they would actually send you out in the mail like the cds in this cool packaging so i’m like i think i was like 14 15 or something i was just like i just i filled out every form i could on the microsoft website and i’ve probably still got it at home now in a box back at mum and dad’s house but just a box full of microsoft server and t and i used to like get a little computer and i’d try and install the software half time it didn’t work because i knew i was doing but i just want to learn just want to learn learn learn yeah good i never got into like building computers and the hardware side i just couldn’t bother with it networking originally yeah there’s enough people doing it there’s nothing like quite in my opinion there’s nothing unique about it and i think i’ve probably made the right decision there because like even these days you can bring up a vendor and go on xyz and they build in the factory and send it straight out to you so hardware never really interested me it was more there’s more process it was more automation definitely automation and i think that’s how i ended up doing say work with i won a scholarship with a with a bank when i was 17 or something oh wow on central coast i know that yeah won a scholarship and uh they paid for um some education they also paid for uh microsoft’s microsoft certifications mcp i can’t i remember quite young i was like 18 and i was like an mcsa or something who knows but i was working in banking systems and then um then i had a then i i started i had a few mates join the army for example and i really wanted to understand how defense do it so i joined the army as well um understood how i wanted really wanted to get into like satellites and and long-range communication so i joined the signal core learnt all around how they you know send long-range communications from like australia to hawaii or how how radio systems are used during combat then i want to learn about satellites and the iit departments and then anyway long story i don’t want to bore you with my past because um it sounds interesting at times but it’s probably not it is it’s an interesting journey that you went on and one yeah and then i and then i um started my own business which is funny right i don’t know what i was thinking but um my business name that i started and get this was called fruit box it
what did i call it i was like 22 or something i don’t know what i was doing i had the shirts i had these like squishy stress balls um i think people felt sorry for me to be honest with you because i was like i gave you business they gave me business and like every customer i was doing work for like around newcastle’s doing work for doctor surgeries fitting out them with you know microsoft um small business servers i was quite young um i was like 22 and i bought like a brand new wrx rather than you know saving up for a house or something stupid like that i was doing work for all sorts of people and i lost count of how many times people called me asking if i did fruit deliveries and i actually what did you say was that when you realized that that’s what i was like i don’t know why i called it this and the logo even the logo was this box with an apple coming out of it i should show you it one day it’s hilarious um and i haven’t said to my dad like hey maybe we should get in the fruit delivery service because i swear i was getting like four or five phone calls a day people going yeah can i have like a fruit platter sent out to dad i’m like no i’ll come and fix your computer um anyway it’s weird how it all happens and so i started working that’s where i met sean smith who was the director of uh primatech and they were doing a lot of cool stuff in the mines and um i just came on board to help help him out with his um he his staff computers and so he needed a server and stuff said i was doing work with dmat as well um which they were all working together but then uh as i was doing a bit of consult contracting with them there’s all of a sudden an opportunity to start actually getting involved in some of the projects that they were working on which is what kick-started my career with the mines and then i straight away worked that’s where i met gary thomas and and ben lam and clint brewing for example is that we were gloucester coal was our was my first big mining job and essentially that whole mine was um was a green field we replaced all the i.t and between us three essentially that all of it was us the whole work of everything from the automation of the belts and i remember that from our first when i interviewed you yes years ago yeah there you go so i learned an absolute shite ton to be honest with you like my brain was in overload thank thankfully i was so young because i could absorb it now i’d just be like what’s going on it’s like i’ll just probably walk out of the room and just never come back right but so you know i learned a bucket load and uh and what what advice would you give to young people wanting to start a career in technology oh i look i i went all in and just tried to learn and absorb as much as you could stay focused with what you’re passionate about um it’s very easy to sort of maybe get distracted there’s so many different avenues now like back when i was young it was like if you’re gonna get an i.t it was a very it was a pretty clear path in a lot of ways as you know you go do your microsoft search i did all them um did my itil search but it was very clear in the direction you could go now it’s like you can be like a software dev you can you know robotics automation like there’s just so many different avenues yeah machine learning engineer yeah yeah yeah and i think it’s just all about just like being focused like just find out where your passions are like you’ve got to do this you’re going to do this for a long time like your career unless you hit the jackpot which i’ve been trying to do the powerball come on baby but chances of you winning that are pretty low so you have to have a backup plan and that would be probably a career i guess and in your career um you know you’ve got to find what you’re passionate about otherwise you’re just wasting everyone not only your time wasting everyone’s time yeah exactly because you’re going to get bored he’s going to keep jumping between and then you’re going to get to like the ripe old age where you go why didn’t i just follow what i thought was interesting or why didn’t i just why didn’t i just spend my days waking up and actually look forward to going to work and i’m definitely at that point i love going to work yeah i love the people i work for i love what we’re doing i think i’m very blessed in a lot of ways i’m not a religious person but i’m definitely feel like um you know the opportunities that i’ve had has been a result of me um probably being quite vocal about what i want to do but also just like knowing that i’m interested in something and chasing that so i guess my advice to newcomers and people coming to market is don’t don’t rush it by all means don’t think you have to have like this clear path of what you want to do because you’re probably not going to work it out for about five years into your career right yeah and that’s that’s normal like it’s more than normal in fact i’d probably encourage it like dabble in a little bit of everything yeah but once you find something that really excites you go and master it like go and go and do the best you can at it because it’s only going to benefit you in the long run and you’ve got to have an end game and your end game is to retire and spend time with your family or yeah you know whatever it is i think there’s just a lot of pressure on kids these days to have it figured out straight away i think i think that pressure is like always been there in some ways it probably stems from both your parents and what the school expectations are and stuff you do a lot of us did just go surfing during the day and don’t worry about it but don’t take my advice and don’t do that.
James: on episode 62 we have daniel Pludek
how do you think i guess technology influenced the change today like right in the middle of the covet or a little bit post covid now how do you think that journey and going forward that technology potential of online learning is going to affect kip McGrath as a whole the business model?
Daniel: the edge so kip McGrath was very insightful and they were already building the online platform prior to covered so when covert did hit there was the online platform available so the impacts were not as deep as other industries moving forward um the online learning face-to-face apps there’s a whole range of opportunities it’s really about understanding what the customer wants how they learn what do they need and then being able to cater to their need so i think covert was one thing there’s always going to be a place for face to face there’ll always be a place for online and there will be other methods and mechanisms moving forward so it’s really understanding how best to help the kids learn and provide it in a way where they can access it and making it as accessible as possible yeah cool i think um we had a chat with anthony cto of the university on the podcast quite a while ago now i’m talking to him about education not at children level but obviously at university level and how hybrid approaches might be the way the future where it might be not a full university degree but a university degree with added smaller courses some some part uh delivered online some parts delivered face-to-face and that sort of hybrid approach or tailored approach to the individual so it sounds like you’re taking that same approach at a child level right absolutely it’s um at the end of the day it’s about getting the best outcomes for the student everybody interacts and learns very differently and you need to be able to cater for as many of those people as possible and you know even university is a great example back when i was at uni if i missed a class i’d have to go find a friend who actually made it to the lecture and get their notes and try to catch up when i went to university in canada it was a bit better because the lecturers wrote the book so you read the book you didn’t really have to turn up to class whereas now you can do it online you can do catch-up you can watch videos you can go to campus if you want you don’t have to so those options make it much easier for people to learn and that’s what we’re trying to capture mate while we’re on the topic of education education i think is a interesting topic for technology professionals what used to be common and on every job advertisement was must have degree is changing and evolving uh education obviously has a place in society university is a big part of that but i guess you’re let’s start with your experience you’ve obviously done a couple of degrees now and gone back and then done different uh smaller courses as well to to continue your education and be keen to get your opinion on the value for let’s start with the value for university for your career look value of university is a funny one it’s very valuable for that checkbox where people require a degree um as you mentioned it’s less important these days but a lot of roles still want you to have that little check box yeah i’ve seen roles where they want the masters checkbox it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get their best candidates just somebody who’s had the time to do a master’s degree personally i really don’t care if somebody’s learnt themselves they’ve done a degree they haven’t had time to have a degree it’s really about can you get the outcomes and are you good at what you do and you have the right attitude to learn and continue to develop yourself and move forward so i think it’s good that it’s becoming less important as a requirement but i think until the entire business world changes their mindset there are still roles where it will be limiting if you don’t have a degree regardless of what that degree is yeah cool you must have seen i’m assuming i make an assumption here but you must have seen some value in it to obviously go back i know you’ve done uh smaller courses with cs charleston university and also harvard can you talk to me about i guess why you did that and then the value you got from that i i do the short courses because they address a specific interest or a specific need so if there’s an area i do want to delve a little bit deeper into the short courses are a good way to just go in brush up that skill set i also like looking at a lot of the certification streams because what it does it gives you a good insight into industry best practice standards what other people are doing so i don’t see it as necessary i think what you do in the workplace is much more important the experience you gather from real world experience is more important but it’s also valuable to be conscious of what the industry is doing and if you go to a course and learn one thing you’ve got your value for money out of that course so it’s just about staying relevant and understanding the trends the problem with courses and a problem of degrees are they’re designed for what to do in perfect world situations and no company works in a perfect world situation so the formal education aligned with an ability to use common sense adapt adjust you know change tactin approach when needed will get you the right outcome so it’s a tool along with your other skill set.
James: on episode 63 we have a two person interview with aaron and witold.
Liam: anything in particular that i guess is publicly facing that you’re you’re super proud of anything that people can look at to get a better understanding as to what i guess the the end product is?
Aaron and Witold: yeah that’s a bit of a challenging one because a lot of the time we’re working with uh with railways who don’t like to share a lot of their actual raw data um but on our website we have you know some examples that we can share and we we go through a bit of it also on the next core side of things with the drone-based lidar scanner um that’s got a like a lot more marketing feel around it and because that’s been out there for three years now there’s a lot of people using it for weird and wonderful things as well so it is interesting creating this and you know because it’s so applicable to a lot of different areas you know you are seeing a lot of surveyors use it which you kind of expect it’s like you know you are shooting lasers from drones but at the end of the day it’s just like a more advanced measuring tape so so you kind of expect that use case but there’s a lot of people in like environmental monitoring um we have uh spoken to like new south wales fire they’re interested in fuel loads and uh that’s cool we work with environmental monitoring with the um darwin the vital project yeah um and they they’re very interested in they have a few supersites where they’re like um basically trying to determine how much carbon is being sunk into those areas sure it’s very interesting up there because it’s tropical it burns out you know roughly every year they’re trying to figure out how much actually stays there and um and a very dynamic environment too because everything just grows so quickly so they’re interested in seeing you know how big a tree trunks um you know what other information they can get from it too so um so yeah that’s that’s great and we’ve actually seen you know some people doing their phds on the back of the kind of data that they’re capturing awesome so but on the chord l side yeah i mean the automated analytics that we’re doing is fairly class leading so um and it can be as simple as just you know measuring what’s around the train so um obviously trees are a big one artc have a very big network a lot of areas is fairly low value network so you know obviously vegetation management costs a lot trees grow all the time so being able to make accurate measurements and not just knowing you know that there’s something that’s a problem now but there’s something that could be a problem in you know three to six months and you know doing a lot of that triage um so that they can effectively send the you know teams out there to do it more effectively so excellent but yeah we’re currently doing you know in about a month’s time we’ll have hardware in the uk as well as the us doing you know scanning and cool um that’s kind of great to you know go to bed and you’re watching you know someone out in the u.s doing scanning and then you wake up and you know there’s someone in the uk uh about to go it’s it’s very interesting seeing uh seeing all that happen and it must really sort of validate the you know the what you’ve built essentially that it has i guess taken root outside of just australia yeah and it’s one of these things that you know you just need to get off the island kind of thing yes i mean we you know post pandemic world it’s a pretty big bubble now but it’s um but yeah it’s it’s very interesting working with you know someone like artc and going well that’s a good chunk of uh of australia’s railway network but um and we have looked at even things like roads in the past um with the ai and we’ve got some very good results from them but there’s just enough differences in roads because you know they’re not all federally kind of wrong and you then fall down to new south wales has like its chunk and then it just larger roads and then you’ve got councils picking out their little bits and they all do their signage differently and there’s enough differences that it’s it’s hard to scale but railways i mean the industrial revolution happened a little while ago now so yes some of the processes probably date back uh back that far so it’s you know probably right for bringing some technology in yeah but a railway there the construction techniques are pretty much the same the world around so it’s it’s been really good for us to to see that well you know in the uk and japan and the us it’s effectively the same thing like they look and especially when you’re using the lidar and looking at point clouds it’s very hard to tell the difference between oh this is in the uk or this is in the us or this is in australia they all look fairly similar in that once you start looking at the video footage of course everyone will have a different stance we like our signs to be this size and have reflectors around here and you know there’s some differences there but um but yeah so basically funnily enough around since i started a lot of those images from point clouds you can tell by vegetation most easily which railways you’re looking at yeah vegetation the uk looks very different than vegetation australia absolutely and even across the continent it looks different here and looks different up north yeah that’s a easier telltale directional technology yeah we’ll become botanists yet.
James: on episode 64 we have David lynch
Linda: let’s talk about your team and culture at oas i know that you’ve had fairly good retention and you’re looking at growing your team further what are some of the skills and attributes and softer skills that you look for when you hire i know you’ve mentioned customer service what else do you look for?
David: yeah look i think a willingness to learn i think is probably a big thing we try and make sure the engineers that we do have are absolutely part of the client journey if you like and part of that customer experience so um we want them to put themselves in the shoes of the customer um one of our core values is acting like an owner so we want them to act like the owner of that business that they’re dealing with so take accountability yeah so one of the things that we’re struggling with at the moment linda is you’re well aware is his recruitment so it’s it’s kind of really hard to get i suppose experienced skilled staff in newcastle alone we’re having to to go further afield in terms of sydney and other places to try and actually get that skilled staff so that’s kind of a short-term issue that we’ve got but um so we want to solve it for the longer term and so part of that is is to try and onboard trainees we’ve currently got a couple of trainees this is your graduate program the minder academy academy that’s right um and uh so as they come on we support them obviously through any tafe processes that if they need to continue to get their accreditations there um we support them through that and then we put them through our own internal product courses um to make sure that they actually got a career path when they come to ois we see that um as a huge benefit it helps obviously the customers and and ourselves but also helps the the graduates if you like um progress their careers yeah and get opportunities because i know that that’s the highest age group of unemployment yeah at the moment and the hunter especially yeah and especially in a tech world i think that’s it’s kind of almost crazy that we have so many people who are so technically savvy these days on mobile phones and computers um yet there’s such a skill shortage in the i.t space so part of our sort of charter i suppose is to try and get those people through the various levels within our organization right up to a specialist level so if they wanted to you know specialize in data centers or in networks or in cyber security yeah so there’s lots of different paths that they can choose and we we’re more than happy to support them through that so you’re most of your senior engineers are more sort of generalists or they were they specialize in certain areas do they yeah as they go up they um they tend to specialise um and so we’ve got a couple of people who look after our data center uh we’ve got a guy who who manages our whole network um and obviously they’ve got understudies and we’re trying to bring those people along as well, yeah and so yeah that’s kind of how it works and so with your mind academy graduate program how many sort of graduates can you take on a year yeah we’ve only just kicked it off and so we’ve probably just started with a couple to start with but i think there’s a potential for that to grow certainly next year as well um the two we’ve got are going superb um yeah excellent they’ve got really good communication skills already they’ve had previous jobs where they’re dealing with the public um and so they’re at times when they have tricky conversations they know how to handle those conversations as well yeah good and um i know that we sort of touched on the minor academy what about more senior staff do you support them with certifications yeah absolutely so there’s um we’re generally a cisco house so we follow the cisco certifications so we support people through their ccnas and and some of those other specialized type accreditations as well yeah so absolutely we’re that’s part of you know we’d be crazy not to support them in those sorts of things yeah good and so everyone sort of fairly much works in the office full-time or they’re out sort of on client sites is there any other benefits that you offer yeah look i mean i think one of the things um which i was surprised at is probably a little google like but um we’ve obviously got a lovely office uh particularly in newcastle yeah so that’s fantastic we’re super lucky um to be up there on the beach so but we offer our staff um free gym as well as um yeah lunches every day memberships and all sorts of stuff as well so great yeah we try and make it as you know and obviously coffee um our tech people love their coffee so yeah there’s coffee machines and all those sorts of stuff as well just those little add-on benefits memberships yeah people don’t necessarily expect it but they they um they love it yeah very good speaking of um education what career what education path did you take um earlier in your career and would you choose that path again interesting interesting question would i choose it again look i think i said so i did a bachelor of commerce at newcastle uni and then went ahead and did my cpa certified practicing accountants program and i’ve also done the australian institute of company directors some of my graduate there as well would i choose that path again i think it gave me a great grounding from a commercial sense so um and the skills are very very transferable across industries so you know i’ve worked for communication companies i work for not-for-profits uh you know mining services companies tech companies entertainment centers in the venue hot in the venue hire industry so that’s been fantastic from an experience point of view you don’t kind of get pigeonholed and it helps you i suppose learn so much more about other industries um businesses and you can apply that to other sectors yeah would i be an accountant again jury’s out jury’s out i’m not 100 sure but um look i wouldn’t i wouldn’t change anything i’ve had a very fortunate very lucky career yeah today so yes so what advice would you give to young students wanting to start a career in technology what path would you recommend for them yeah sure so um look the tafes and universities do great programs and and give you the basics definitely around networking but i suppose you know my advice would be try and work within a certainly a msp environment a managed services provider environment to start with because you get a very good broad section of experience so the enterprise side i suppose is more about one network you know everybody does things the same way sort of thing um whereas an msp gives you a broad cross-section there’s so many different businesses set up and it’s a completely different different sizes different yep absolutely so some are hosted some are on prem servers some are you know different software products um you get a greater you know breadth of experience yeah that’s right yeah fantastic.