From Ipswich to Ipswich!

July 31, 2020

There have been some serious milestones at our company of late, with Construction Manager, Dean Scott being recognised this week for his two and a half decades at Paynters. We sat down with our British friend to find out what it’s like to go from Ipswich England to Ipswich Queensland and dig deep into the last 25 years.

Give me the rundown of your last 25 years @ Paynters. Where did it all start?

When I first came to Queensland as a tradie, way back, I started out as a bricklayer. I lasted 3 days in the Queensland sun before it wiped me out. Thinking that this wasn’t for me I started working on Gympie RSL – Stage 1 through a labour hire company.

Striking up a good relationship with the Paynters Site Manager Robert Peterson, I then moved into a full-time role as a Leading Hand as a direct employee, working with Robert on the Toowoomba City Golf Club, Griffith University Engineering Building and Griffith University Science Building. Working on these large projects and the mentoring I received from Robert, gave me the grounding and the experience of the processes required to enable effective management of large projects.

Opportunities then presented themselves with small projects, which in turn lead to bigger projects to manage in a Site Foreman capacity, then progressively into the Site Manger role.

At what point did you decide you wanted to be in the office?

It was about 2007, at this point I was asked if I would like the opportunity to go into the office as a Project Manager after the Jeta Gardens Project, discussions with the then Construction Manager Henry Hermann and BJ, gave way to both Matt Hogg and myself moving into the office.

We were starting to see some growth within the company, and it was a perfect opportunity to see how we would both fit into an office environment. It was always a goal to get off site and get into the office. The grass always seemed greener when I was on site. However, I bet you would find people in the office who would think the grass is always greener on site some days.

Did you see anyone come through the ranks that you knew you had potential?

I’ve seen quite a few people come through and do some incredible things here over the years. Matt Hogg coming in from school, digging bull rushes out of a pond at Kedron Wavell RSL, to Ash Hunsley coming into a CA role from a site carpenter (just as long as he had the spell check on). Paul Gardiner, Nate Coleman Rhys O’Dwyer, Alan Gardiner, in recent times, as well as too many others too mention, are all doing fantastic jobs for Paynters.

I even had the pleasure of watching BJ come in as a very green cadet. I still remember watching BJ as a Project Manager, back in those days we only had 3 Project Managers. One year they all went on holidays and basically left BJ to hold down the fort.

There are some really good people here that we surround ourselves with and I think that it speaks volumes for the Paynters culture.

What would you consider the most memorable moment at Paynters?

I thoroughly enjoyed the Jeta Gardens Aged Care project. 22 hectares, 128 bed Aged Care facility. 24 Independent Living units and 32 Apartments. Fantastic team effort. Built quickly with no fuss, limited issues. The funniest memory from this job was a practical joke that was played on me actually. Some of our subbies had been working on the set at Movie World and planted a skeleton in the lake on the Jeta Gardens property. We had to drain the lake to make way for a Japanese garden, landscaping and a bridge. Naturally, when we went to drain the lake, the skeleton came up. I was called to the back of the site where the skeleton was laying with the guys explaining what they had found. I got halfway through calling the police before they told me that it was a prop.

Outside of practical jokes, that job was just a great one to have on the books. Matt Hogg and I built the Japanese garden and bridge with a lot of different techniques used throughout the project. 450 pre-cast panels, overall, just a great job.

Northern Beaches School was another fantastic project. Accelerated program was an understatement! Building a brand-new school in 10 months with a cyclone shelter!! Credit to a few present staff; Katrina Tomkins, Jason Muscat, Richard Allenby, Matt Porter, Colin Balderson and some great work from Nigel Gardiner. We walked out as the school kids were walking in on day one. Down to the wire but it was a great sense of accomplishment from the whole team.

Why Australia?

Cause Col Lewsey, (my father in law) was a Project Manager here, working for Paynters. Originally employed as Site Manager. My wife and I came to Australia to assist my wife’s family. The intention was always to go home to England after two years but as time passed the Australian lifestyle took over and we never went back.

We actually came to Australia when my first daughter was a One year old, my wifes pregnancy with our second daughter was announced over the PA at Toowoomba City Golf Club, thanks to Robert Peterson. Literally. They got on the PA and yelled out “Phone call for Dean Scott…. your wife is pregnant”.

Is it true that you moved from Ipswich to Ipswich?

Pretty much! Born and raised in Ipswich England, moved to Ipswich when we got to Queensland.  All three children and myself were born in Ipswich, just on different sides of the planet!!

After 25 years, are there any bucket list goals that you must tick off? Work or Play?

I’ve always loved the pressure that comes with aspirations. I’m a happy guy and happy with the way things are but it’s always nice to challenge yourself. As the Construction Manager I like having a hand in steering people in the right direction. I am a believer of being proactive, not reactive. I think we’ve come a long way and I’m proud to be a part of the journey. Over the last 18 months we have overhauled the inspection processes within the business & we’ve conducted 4297 field audits with the audit system, improving systems on site.

The way we have developed the ITP’s is ac­­tually now a training tool/initiative. The ITP’s tell staff what to look for throughout the course of the project, which in turn, is that process of being proactive, this in turn saves time and money & keeps all parties happy. I am very proud of the progress we’ve made.

Family, including two children and two adorable grandchildren are still back in the UK, so obviously I would like to visit them when we are able to. Other goals for 2020, are just to stay healthy, Work smarter not harder and get that golf handicap down!!