Meet The Team – Chris Dale

Civil Project Partners’ Chris Dale has built a career delivering major projects in Australia and overseas, where his significant experience in the field and working in the estimating teams, led him to co-found the company five years ago.  A keen triathlete, lover of ice cream and US crime drama, we caught up with Chris to find out a little more about him.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

When completing high school, I don’t think too many people knew what they want to do. I choose engineering, and it just worked out for me. I think my dad put the idea in my head and I’ve never looked back.

What do you love about working as a civil engineer?

There are so many different directions Civil Engineering can take you. I think it is quite different to most other occupations. Civil Engineers are problem solvers by nature, and that can lead you and any direction you want and take you anywhere in the world.

It is fascinating that, that you can change direction within the civil engineering sector and don’t necessarily start from the beginning again because it is a sector where people place real value on experience.

What are you working on at the moment?

There is always a lot going on. We are currently working on a number of pre-construction cost estimates for a few leading design outfits. These are ultimately received by TMR to future-fund works for the construction sector.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?

Without a doubt, it has been starting an estimating consultancy business that has operated for five years. As any business owner knows, it has its ups and downs, but on the whole, it is very special to grow a business, employ people and see your idea become a real thing.

What’s the best project you have worked on?

Actually, a project just came across my desk today called the Gympie Arterial Road and Strathpine Road Interchange Upgrade. The project involves constructing a diverging diamond intersection.  Not too many of these in Australia with traffic actually pushed to the opposite side of the road. I will be tendering this project for a leading tier 2 construction company, and I think this will be pretty exciting and an example of how our industry is always innovating.

With regards to the best project, I have worked on, I always think of a small subdivision I was involved with very early on in my career. The project failed dismally, but I learnt a hell of a lot.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned throughout your career? 

Deadlines. You have to stick to them, especially in the work we do as it is pretty hard to submit a tender after the due date and the box is usually closed, and you are guaranteed to miss out.

What would your last meal be?

Ice cream. If it is going to be the last meal, it may as well be something fun and unhealthy.

What is the last movie you watched or series you binged?

The Blacklist, it’s a US crime drama about an FBI profiler, Elizabeth, who has her life uprooted when a notorious criminal hands himself in and demands only to talk to her.  I am up to season 6, and it’s the perfect way to spend a couple of hours when I am on the stationary bike trainer or treadmill.

Who’s inspires you, and why?

Actually, a previous manager I worked with for a number of years. He is a pretty quick thinker, and I always had to play catchup. A smart guy and I always hoped that gaining further experience would have me in the same position as he was and transferring my knowledge to the next generation of engineers.

What excites you about the future of infrastructure?

There is plenty of work coming up for the sector, as the government recognises the need for continued investment in infrastructure and the role it will play in leading the economic recovery. The government will hopefully spend as they are suggesting, and all of us in the construction game can enjoy long-lasting employment. We’re very fortunate in our sector, especially given how others are suffering.

What would be your dream project to work on from history?

I think the Sydney Harbour Bridge would have been difficult and challenging back in the day, and it would have been amazing to work on a project that has become an instantly recognisable global icon.

What piece of advice would you give to someone about to start a career in infrastructure?

Listen, learn and get site experience. If you could buy experience, I would be first in line, but as you can’t, you have to pay for it through hard work, listening and learning all that you can.

What do you do outside work for fun?

I’m a keen triathlete, but I am not sure that counts as fun, at least no during the swim, run or cycling stage, on a cold morning when it hurts. But afterwards, when the exercise high kicks in, then it is fun.

If you could attend any event or concert from the past, what would it be?

The Super Bowl. For a spectacle, I can’t think of anything bigger, and from all of the hype and coverage we see on TV, it looks like an amazing once in a lifetime experience.


The kids love it with cheese for their lunch.

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