New Zealand native Myles Lind had only been in his first proper job for a week when he received some advice that has shaped his career ever since.
“I graduated with a degree in engineering and started working for Royds Consulting [now Stantec], a multinational consulting company in Christchurch,” he says.
“That first week, I got to meet the managing director of the entire business – this very big honcho – and he basically explained to me what had helped him succeed.”
The managing director’s advice? “Don’t think the only way to grow as a person is to stay in one role for your entire life. Having a breadth of experience is really important. Try different things; go sideways and around corners.”
In the three decades since, Lind has done just that, working for several private companies as well as different tiers of government. His latest role: Head of Asset Management at Auckland Transport, NZ’s largest integrated land transport company.
“I’ve worked in small towns and big cities, local government and federal government,” he says. “And meeting that director and hearing his story gave me the confidence to do it.”
Along the way, Lind became passionate about asset management and began to advocate for it within the organisations he worked for, even though it was still an emerging discipline.
In 2015, he was elected to the board of IPWEA in New Zealand and, in 2019, he became NZ President. At the same time, he was appointed to the board of IPWEA’s Canadian subsidiary.
Late last year, IPWEA chose Lind as its next Australasian President, and he now divides his time between that job and his Auckland Transport role.
He describes the senior position as a “dream role” because it involves introducing IPWEA’s Asset Management Pathway to international audiences.
“I’m a firm believer that groups with similar goals can each achieve better outcomes if they can develop a common way and share information,” he says.
“That’s the whole premise of IPWEA: recognising that we’re all in this together, and if we pull together, then we’ve got a better chance of delivering greater value to our communities.”
He also believes that rolling out IPWEA’s Asset Management Pathway in jurisdictions overseas is a wise long-term move for Australasia, not least because of our current workforce shortages.
“The work that we’ve been doing with the Canadian Federal Government, delivering training to help it grow asset management capability, means that Canadian communities benefit now – and who knows, maybe when international travel is possible – those Canadians might come to Australia or New Zealand,” he says.
“They can step straight off the boat, so to speak, and know exactly how to manage public infrastructure the way we do down under.”
Asked to nominate a challenge he hopes to address in his new role, Lind again singles out education – although this time, he’s talking about educating entire communities.
“The issue we’ve got with public infrastructure currently is that most people do not appreciate how important – and how challenging – maintaining it is,” he says.
“We need to help people understand that continuing to invest in and maintain community infrastructure is of vital importance, and that it is a project that spans generations.”
Lind takes his responsibilities seriously. “But it’s also important to enjoy the ride that is your career,” he says.
“Although our sector faces challenges, IPWEA has never been stronger or better placed to support our sector. That, for me, is really exciting.”