Jul 23, 2016

Dave Hartigan

Engineer inspired by great role models
General Sir John Monash is the ‘great leader’ of choice for one of Mackay’s emerging businesspeople.

Forty-one-year-old mechanical engineer Dave Hartigan is the deputy chair of Resource Industry Network (RIN) and general manager of FIELD Engineers.He cites his parents and first employer as early influences.
His mother from farming stock taught him to immerse himself in work and make it more a continuum than the long gap between weekends.
His father taught him the cut and thrust of business, while the then-general manager of Eagle Engineering in Gladstone taught him to deliver a good product and service and be confident of its value.
“It is never based on one transaction, it is all about the long term. It has to be built on trust.” Mr Hartigan said.
“Engineering is such a technical field. If your client doesn’t trust you, you’re in trouble.”
A later period working for construction giant Bechtel showed how self-belief was integral in effective decisionmaking, he said.
“I was lucky to work for an engineering manager during the Yarwun refinery construction who pushed his engineers to be brave. He wouldn’t let anyone hide from making decisions, especially when crews needed an answer or direction,” Mr Hartigan said.
“Sometimes it’s hard work getting everyone to stick to the plan. Other times it takes courage to get everyone to agree to change the plan when you see something they can’t.”
The legendary Australian First World War general and eventual commander of Commonwealth forces General Sir John Monash is Mr Hartigan’s hero.
“He came from the outside, a Jew in Anglo Saxon-dominated Australia. And he was an engineer,” he said.
“He applied an engineer’s approach to military campaigns and he pulled off what no one thought was possible by applying new technology in ways other people hadn’t thought of.”
As a peak representative body, the Resource Industry Network (RIN) was helping members with practical skills and advocacy, Mr Hartigan said.
He credits current RIN chair Tony Caruso with leading the network’s evolution through the resources cycle.
“In the good times it was about enabling the membership to meet insatiable demand from a growing client base,” he said.
“Now it is about helping deliver better business management, including finance, HR and industrial relations. This in turn helps the membership deliver more efficient service to cost-focused clients.
“Advocacy for our industry has become really important.
“Politics can have enormous effect on encouraging or discouraging investment.
“An example is the Galilee Basin, where anti-coal activists are gaming the court system to bog the approval process for a mine. RIN keeps the community abreast of what this is doing to the local and state economies.”