In December 2020, amongst the chaos of a local COVID outbreak and the usual end of year madness, one of our Project Managers, Fahad Dewan, achieved a major milestone – graduating with his Masters of Project Management from University of Technology Sydney (UTS), with a lack of fanfare characteristic of quiet achievers everywhere.

Fahad first came to Australia from Bangladesh to study Civil Engineering at in 2009, found his way to Icon Metal in 2018 and in 2019 enrolled in his Masters. He is currently Project Manager at the Concert Hall refurbishment at Sydney Opera House for Taylor.

On a recent tour of the site Fahad shared his love for engineering, and how working on this  project has lived up to his childhood aspirations …

Congratulations on your Masters, it’s a huge achievement – do you have a lot more spare time now it’s over?

Thank you! It has been an amazing journey and the support from everyone at Icon Metal kept me encouraged to wrestle through difficult times of my study during the pandemic. Certainly, I do not have the evening classes to haunt me anymore, and I do get more evenings to spend with my family and friends, but I do feel more accountable now than ever before on how I spend my time.

I guess the pandemic has given us some time to spend with ourselves and reflect on how we can make a positive impact in our lives and subsequently to the world

I am planning to further extend my knowledge in project management and the field of engineering focusing on steel. The Master’s degree has taught me the principles of Project Management, and I want to evolve my knowledge from there to understanding the challenges in project lifecycles: how they can be efficiently managed and the different methodologies. Expanding my knowledge on understanding the properties of steel will also help me appreciate projects and propose strategic solutions to complex design.

You’re working at Australia’s most iconic building. What’s it like coming to work at the Opera House? Does the novelty ever wear off?

I used to love watching Mega Structures on National Geographic when I was young, and think how incredible and rewarding it would be, to be a part of those extraordinary projects. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to manage a project as unique and as challenging as the Sydney Opera House, and, it being the most iconic structure in Australia, is nothing short of a dream coming true.

It is an honour as well as a privilege for me to manage Icon Metal’s scope of works for this project. Honestly, to me, it is and always will stay as one of the Wonders of the World

The experience has been engraved in my memories, and I believe the novelty will never wear off.

When you are in there, it is like a world within a world, and beyond the curtains and the concerts that will take place in the future are stories of people working and sharing lives together

Being able to experience that is absolutely mesmerising.

What are the challenges of this project and what has it taught you about project management?

Every single piece of material we have brought in for this project has a significantly challenging engineering approach, serves a unique purpose, and has a very specific requirement in material property. The use of different materials in combination to achieve a certain architectural and engineering purpose has been quite challenging and exceptionally fascinating as well. The design makes you question the way things are being done, and it is a challenge to conceive how materials are in play.

But once you see through different perspectives, you are forced to keep an open mind, and deeply appreciate the ingenious design and engineering of the project

Consequently, I have learned to be patient and welcoming of all ideas, when viewed through the lens of project management.

You’re clearly passionate about engineering – where do you see this taking you in the future?

Looking into the future, along with continuing my professional development, I aim to expand my academic knowledge in the field of engineering and broaden my experience in the construction industry. Further study in steel engineering and project management is hovering in my thoughts ... let's see how things unfold! I do wish to pursue them in the future. The amalgamation of the masters degree and my recent experience have given me more self-confidence and the ability to cognitively reflect on probable outcomes while making decisions. Thus, encouraging me to enthusiastically look forward to engaging in more complex and challenging projects in the construction industry focusing on steelwork.

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