The Groundwork

Career Journey: Bridges, Roads and Work-Life Balance

Brad Tarlington joined ATC Williams Brisbane office in October 2022 as CADD Manager and Design Team Leader. He leads a team of eleven designers who support the Tailings, Water and Waste teams.


Hi Brad, tell us about your background.


I grew up in Rockhampton and did a cadetship at Rockhampton City Council while undertaking an associate degree. After graduating, I moved to Brisbane and settled into a job at Brisbane City Council, firstly with the Subdivision unit and then with Roads. My career path since then has been mainly as a consultant for a variety of well-known companies, working on highway and road projects. I also did a stint in the mining sector designing for coal seam gas projects.



Which projects have been the most memorable?


My first major design project working with Aecom was the M7 Clem Jones Tunnel under the Brisbane River, known in the industry as the North-South Bypass Tunnel. When the tunnel opened in 2010, it was the city’s largest road infrastructure project and the longest road tunnel in Australia.


The Gateway Bridge duplication, which also opened in 2010, was another challenging project because it created two sets of freeways that needed to deviate and feed back into the M1 without bottlenecks. The duplication required a design life of 300 years. Both projects involved a lot of site visits, which I appreciated as a young designer.


A more recent project was Senior Designer for roads related to the controversial Adani Rail Project. The scope included designing roads for level crossings and planning access points for farmers and stock routes located on properties along the track.



What kind of work are you doing now?


Since joining ATC Williams, the team has worked closely with the Waste Management experts doing master planning for landfill design, transfer stations and resource recovery centres. I’ve also done some Tailings Storage Facility design work and liaised with the Water team on drainage designs for tailings dams and landfill sites.


On the management side, I have focused on streamlining systems and tightening our QA procedures. Drawings are our product, so we are conscious of improving systems and implementing review checks as the company grows. This includes updating our PDF policies by switching to Bluebeam and reviewing our CADD standards.



How have you benefited from joining a company in a growth cycle?


This is my first management role, and I’ve enjoyed influencing many initiatives to support our growth. I like having a say in the direction and making improvements to expand our capacity. I’m also aware of protecting our historical data as we have Queensland-based projects that go back fifteen years.


I’ve recruited three new staff to the design team, including two cadets, Braydon and Kanchana. Braydon is doing a Bachelor of Engineering and supporting Scott McDonald with waste management designs. Kanchana has an architectural degree from the UK but has pivoted into civil engineering. Both are learning Autodesk Civil3d to add to our skill base alongside our expertise in 12d. 12d is mandatory for working with local councils in Queensland over Civil3d, but we want to cover all bases. Mike Palin is the third recruit who rounds out our team with thirty-plus years of design experience. The team is now twelve people strong, including myself.


How do you enjoy working at ATCW?


A few years ago, I decided that work-life balance was a priority, so I prefer to work a 32-hour week, Monday to Thursday. ATCW is the best company by far for understanding and respecting that choice. They are successfully translating the culture they’ve created as a small business into a large business environment. We have an excellent HR framework and support while onboarding and beyond. I believe that it doesn’t take a lot to make people feel valued. Flexible work hours and access to free car parking are simple gestures that make a huge difference.


What does work-life balance look like for you?


I have a blended family of three boys aged 9, 11 and 13, which my partner and I like to take camping in a Kombi van that I have restored and modified. I am an avid boulderer, and my eldest is keen, too, so we head to places like Cedar Creek in Sandford Valley or Whiterock near Ipswich. If the weather isn’t agreeable, I have a 1968 Renault R10 that I’ve upgraded with electric air-con, but it needs more modifications to get the power balance right. If anyone out there has a workaround, let me know.


– ATC Williams CADD team





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