The Groundwork

In with the New – 2024 Leadership Retreat

‘In with the new’ was the (unofficial) theme of the 2024 Principals Retreat held in stunning Port Stephens, New South Wales.






A New Wave of Leaders

The beachside town of Port Stephens in NSW was the destination for the 2024 Principals’ Retreat. Held from May 16-19, 47 people were present, including Principals, business leaders and board members.


The annual four-day event is a valuable opportunity for leaders from across our business to collaborate and establish strong relationships in alignment with our ONE ATC Williams approach.



Celebrating New Growth

Our business grew significantly in the twelve months since the 2023 retreat. Notably, we commenced our HSEW journey to interdependence, opened an office in Mongolia, added Newcastle, Adelaide, and Cairns to our locations, and hired over 70 people.


Day one of the retreat began with a tour of our new office and laboratory in nearby Newcastle. Opened in November 2023, this site adds a second purpose-built lab to expand our in-house testing capabilities.



Day one – Our leaders enjoyed a visit to the Newcastle Laboratory.



The New Faces in Town


On Day 2, we began with the customary introduction and annual retreat highlight of welcoming our new principals.


  • Pouyan Abassi – Perth
  • Nelson Amoah – Perth
  • Alfredo Arenas – Perth
  • Andrew Chapman – Brisbane
  • Glen Burton – Newcastle
  • Daniel Dohle – Melbourne
  • Katie Carter – Brisbane
  • Mick Stadter – Brisbane
  • Philippe Garneau – Brisbane
  • Steve Robertson – Brisbane
  • Melissa Salt – Brisbane


Each Principal delivered a presentation on their career highlights and passions.


Principal Presentations in Action


Principal presentations: Steve Robertson (L), Melissa Salt (R)


Principal presentations: Andrew Chapman (L), Katie Carter (R)




A New Legacy – The ATCW Principal


Our CEO, Darren Watt, delivered an update on the 2023–2025 Strategic Plan announced at last year’s retreat and congratulated the team on starting 10 of the 24 initiatives.


Darren emphasised the crucial role a Principal has in leading the business. This role includes guiding, supporting, and nurturing the careers of their team members.


We concluded the day by discussing the benefits to our clients and people of being an employee-owned company. In particular, we explored how ownership and leadership succession can create real opportunities for our younger staff.


On Day 3, we discussed our 2024 client service performance and prioritised actions to improve for 2024/2025.


We then broke into groups and continued workshopping and defining the role of a Principal at ATCW. Discussions centred on project management responsibilities, business involvement, and the qualities that make a good principal.


With our impressive staff growth of over 40% in the last few years, it was timely to debate how leadership and the role of a Principal is changing in ATCW to successfully facilitate a pathway for the next generation of ATCW leaders.



From L-R: Tony Marszalek, Phillip Soden, Roger Collins-Willcox, Andrew Chapman, Jeremy Haynes, Melissa Salt


From L-R: Nick Brown, John Milsom, Arash Roshdieh, Sadegh Javadi, Behnam Pirouz, Nicola Logan


From L-R: Rowan Cossins, Mick Stadter, Daniel Dohle, Ian Herman


From L-R: Katie Carter, Mohsen Moogui, Allan Watson, Gavin Reeves



New Horizons – Looking to 2025

In the next twelve months, we can expect the integration of the remaining strategic plan initiatives to enhance the quality of our services.


A few of these initiatives include:

  • Supporting our 21 Technical Communities of Practice
  • Providing further technical training programs to supplement the Annual Technical Seminar Program
  • Expanding digital services and solutions – 3d visualisation, 3d printing and virtual reality


You can read all about it this time next year when we update the leadership news for 2025.




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