Employee spotlight: Life in the project space!

14 January 2022

“Variety is the spice of life” – a saying by English poet, William Cowper, and a motto Project Director, Michael McGroarty, lives by.

In charge of progressing Stanwell’s Southern and Central Renewable Energy Zone battery projects, we caught up with Michael to get his take on what life is like in the project space!

No two days the same – the sentiment we can draw from Michael and his everchanging experience in the project space.

Starting with Stanwell in July of 2021 as Project Director for Stanwell’s proposed battery energy storage projects, he certainly embodies his life motto, having worked in several different industries across multiple countries.

“Each experience has been very different, exciting and rewarding in its own way,” Michael said.

“Aside from South Australia, I have worked in every state in Australia.”

Loving the drawcard of a challenge, Michael’s resume is akin to that of a Hollywood action movie – there’s big budgets, famous locations, extreme temperatures, and even crocodiles!

“Projects I’ve work on have varied in length and budget, from $20 million to $37 billion, and from a few months to a few years,” he said.

“My favourite project was an LNG plant in north west Western Australia, about 1700 kilometres from Perth. We had an amazing team from all over Australia and the world.

“One of my least favourable projects was in Darwin, Northern Territory – I don’t like crocodiles.

“My most interesting project was Dubai International Terminal 3 – which saw 3,500 people working 24/7 in temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius. The scale and complexity of delivering a mega project with an unskilled workforce was a huge challenge, and the heat was something else.

“My most notable project was the Swiss Re office tower in London. It’s the one you see on most movie sets in London – the one that looks like a giant cucumber.”

All of that, plus experience in working for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors and owners on projects across various sectors from oil and gas, mining, defence and commercial construction, including airports, hospitals, shopping centres, high-rise office and residential – I think we can all agree, Michael loves projects!

With his attention now solely on charging forward with our proposed battery projects, Michael insists the project space isn’t for the faint hearted, and in keeping with the culinary theme, if you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

“Projects are exciting and rewarding, but they are also very dynamic and can be a tough master with long challenging days,” he said.

“You need to be passionate about getting involved and be prepared to be challenged.

“A major capital expenditure project touches every part of the business, from the Board right through to our operations teams onsite.”

With the battery project team busily powering away, it’s this stage of the project Michael enjoys the most.

“For me, the first stage is the most exciting, that is when everything is new and being established and when we are at our most creative.

“It’s the stage where you can really influence the projects outcome.

“If you are looking for a challenge and would like to get involved in any of our exciting projects, keep an eye out on our website, we can guarantee it will be a rewarding experience.”

Stanwell is progressing a number of renewable projects in response to Queensland’s evolving market and transition to a lower carbon future – if you’re interested in playing a part in driving our future, keep up-to-date on our careers page.