Olivia Pietrobon’s (’11) career at Fulton Hogan and the importance of STEM

LOSA would like to recognise Olivia on her career at Fulton Hogan and how working in the construction industry has created many opportunities for her, particularly in areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

We have asked Olivia to share with us her professional journey so far.

Olivia in her own words:

I started at the University of Adelaide in March 2012, straight after finishing high school. Initially I enrolled in a double degree: Bachelor of Engineering (Civil and Structural) and Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Science. I always had a love for maths during school and thought about a career in construction so the double degree offered me an opportunity to continue studying both. After studying for a year and a half, I decided to swap my maths degree to a Bachelor of Finance. I had begun to grow interested in the stock market and investments, and thought this degree would complement my engineering degree as it would be able to lead me to a career in project management.

After finishing university in June 2017, I was offered a graduate position with Fulton Hogan, starting in July of that year. This was my first full time role, and it took some getting used to – but I loved every minute of it as I was learning new skills and finally putting all my studies into practise.  Through Fulton Hogan I have had many opportunities to grow my career, as well as invest time in causes I am passionate about.

One highlight  of my career so far was being part of the team that won a major project up in Queensland. I work within the Utilities business in Fulton Hogan. Although it is a national company, Utilities is only well-established in South Australia. In May 2018, I was chosen as part of a team of 10 to go up to Brisbane for a 2 day tender workshop, to bid for a project with a major water company. The two day workshop was to allow the potential client to see how we worked together as a team to solve the theoretical project put in front of us and allowed them to witness our policies and procedures. After this workshop, we successfully won the 3-year project and allowed us to expand our business to Queensland. This was a great win for the company and I felt honoured I was part of the success.

In October last year I applied and was selected to be on the Gender Diversity committee at Fulton Hogan. I am a general committee member and my focus in the group is to encourage females to enter the construction industry, whether it be through engineering or a trade. Currently I assist the HR team at graduate expos to encourage university students to look at a career in Fulton Hogan. However, we have realised that this stage may be too late to encourage females in the industry – so I have partnered up with local schools to give presentations to year 9 and 10 students about the benefits of working in the construction industry. Starting this year, I will also be running a STEM course with a co-worker at Seaview Primary school, showing Year 6 and 7’s what real life engineering problems can look like and working with them to find solutions to the different scenarios.

In December 2018 I was approached by SA Life and asked to participate in a round table discussion about women working in the construction industry. Myself and the four other women chosen were all from different companies and in different roles, so it was amazing learning about their career paths and how they ended up in construction. It reinforced my belief that a career in construction can lead to many different opportunities.

I have had a busy two years of working, and am proud of having achieved so much in my professional career. I cannot wait for what the future will bring for me.