In the PACE hot seat is Paul Markwick, General Manager (Victoria), SAGE Automation.
How did you come to be in this industry?
My parents owned a farm in the Mallee and encouraged me to explore other career options as opposed to staying on the land. I started as an apprentice electrician in the city and found I enjoyed the challenge of working on control systems. Sometime later while undertaking my associate diploma I met Justin Karl from SAGE. That was 15 years ago and the rest is history.
What's the best business idea you have that you will never use?
I'm lucky as our MD is very entrepreneurial and supports most of our ideas. At SAGE we sometimes feel that we have more ideas than time and money. It's a challenge as the business has grown and become more structured in its processes. There is often a lot of debate about 'which' and 'whose' ideas gets implemented first; we always have a few on the go. A couple of our better ideas have been a graduate program, 24/7 service and a didactic training facility.
What do you see are the biggest opportunities for our industry?
Collaborating with industry partners and our customers that are prepared to take a longer view and treat their control system as a valued asset. When high levels of trust are evident, high performance teams can form, and on larger projects, senior engineers are able to train graduates in a safe environment.
What's the greatest challenge in your job?
Balancing the workloads of our engineers and service technicians. There is almost always too much or not enough. We are focussing on being able to share our resources more efficiently between states so our engineers don't have to get on a plane so often.
If you could be anything else, what would it be and why?
Easy, I would be a travel writer specialising in food and wine. About 20 years ago my wife and I travelled the world and even lived in a kombi van for six months. It was a wonderful time that still grounds me to this day. These days my taste in food and wine is a little more refined, with the most travel I do being the commute between Melbourne and Sydney.
Email: Paul Markwick