Jacques Britz pictured in front of Yarra Valley Water branded vehicle

Joining the Yarra Valley Water contract in June 2018, Jacques Britz brought with him years of experience from across the business spectrum.

Starting out as an electrician in his native South Africa, Jacques' experience includes time as a diesel fitter, electrical designer, construction and project manager, and now an operations manager. His experience has taken him across a range of industries including mining, energy and infrastructure maintenance in two countries and multiple states. 

Whilst it might not be the usual path to where he is now, for Jacques it's been the ideal lead-in to managing a large transmission and distribution workforce across the Yarra Valley Water contract. 

'Coming into this role, having knowledge and experience across different fields was a huge benefit, Jacques said.

"Once you move away from the physical work and into project management or operational management it's really about managing safety, cost, quality, processes and people. The actual work may be different, but the challenges are all very similar."

Jacques' approach to work

Regardless of the industry, Jacques brings a consistent approach to his work.

My goal is always to leave it in a better state than it was when I came in, he said.

"I like to see the improvements, see the safety stats, see the value we are providing to clients, the great customer service. I like us to always strive to be the best.

"I think back on my time just before I immigrated to Australia, I was working as a branch manager for A&R Engineering looking after three mines and we grew the business from about 4% of market share from the time I started to over 60% presence by the time I left for Australia. 

"It was a very good time in my life, and I learned a lot and matured as a person."

Throughout his career, Jacques has observed a lot of change, both in technology and also the way businesses and people operate. He said that this has required a need to adapt and develop management styles. 

"Twenty years ago, people tended to do things the way they had always been done but in the current climate. If you want to maintain and grow your business you can't think like that anymore — people need to be able to change their behaviors and that can be a challenge," he said. 

Continuing to challenge the culture and ensure that safety is always a part of everyone's day to day life is vital.