Meet The Team – Sean Savage

Meet The Team – Sean Savage

Sean Savage is Civil Project Partner’s Civil Principal, with a career spanning major projects in Australia and the UK. High end sushi, a tough call between The Beatles and The Stones, the satisfaction of completing a project is all part of what came up when we caught up with Sean to find out more about him.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

It was my Dad who inspired me to pursue a career in civil engineering. He is retired now but had a building business and worked tirelessly to build it and to make it a success, but the one thing he drummed into me was to stay in school as long as you can. I did and became a civil engineer; I think Dad wanted me to be the engineer that he never was and to not have to spend my days on the tools.

What do you love about working as a civil engineer?

It is the legacy that we get to create. There is something special about taking an idea and turning it into infrastructure that will last for decades, if not longer. Its also always a special moment when you get to share something you have helped to construct with your family.

It’s also an industry that is so diverse and gives you the opportunity to utilize your skills in different areas. After spending 20 years in civil contracting, I decided to move into the consulting side of the industry. It has also given me the push to finally get my RPEQ qualification, become a Chartered Professional Engineer and also be recognized as a Fellow of the Institue of Engineers Australia all in 2020, so for me, it really has been a year to celebrate professionally.

What are you working on at the moment?

What aren’t I working on at the moment; we are in the middle of a really busy period and the business case, preliminary design and detailed design cost estimate reports are coming in thick and fast; so its really a case of keeping everything going and making sure we deliver for our clients.

I think the main reason is due to the COVID stimulus funding is bringing projects to reality far quicker than in regular times; something that would have been 18 months in the planning is now taking six.

What’s the best project you have worked on?

I’ve done a fair few over the years, but a couple stand out. The first was an upgrade to the Toowomba Range; I think anyone who has driven up or down the range can appreciate the complexity of the landscape, the tight confines we had to work in and the logistics of works on an extremely busy major arterial.

Another one would be the North Shore Boulevard for Townsville City Council. It was a great project to work on and picked up a 2011 CCF Case Earthworks Award (Qld) for Category 4 – Projects from $25m to $70m, which was a deserved recognition for the team that I led as Project Manager at the time.

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

To always retain your integrity and professionalism. If you remain true to your core values, you can always hold your head high when things get tough.

What would your last meal be?

If it is my last meal, I’m going to push the boat out and enjoy Kaiseki at Sukiyabashi Jiro by Jiro Ono. It would be a Japanese degustation style banquet at a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations from the public under the leadership of probably the best sushi chef on the planet.

Either that or a good steak.

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

The latest season of The Crown launched this week, so that’s what’s on the TV at the moment. I’m not really that interested in the Royal Family, but the mix of history and a story being told is something I really enjoy.

Who’s inspires you and why?

My parents and what they achieved in their lives; but more for the fact that they did everything that they possibly could to give their kids the opportunities that they never had.

What excites you about the future of infrastructure?

It has to be new technology. The way we can use technology to improve how we interact with infrastructure and where that will lead is fascinating. There are so many questions in front of us at the moment, and it is fascinating to see how we answer those questions and how smart infrastructure can be created and what will become ‘old’ infrastructure repurposed.

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

The Suez or Panama canals. As an engineer, their scale was unbelievable; but it is their outcome that’s is most remarkable – they effectively created major global shortcuts that opened up the world like never before.

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

If you want to get rich; study finance and become a banker. If you’re going to work in infrastructure, you need to be prepared to be driven by satisfaction and accomplishment, not by money. The rewards are different, but are there; it is all about being able to say ‘I created this.’

What do you do outside work for fun?

Spending time with my family is something that I really enjoy. Other than that, I hit the gym most mornings and also spend a lot of time camping or holidaying near the beach. North Straddie is always a favourite.

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

It’s a tough one…Beatles or Stones?

Maybe The Beatles at Festival Hall in Melbourne in 1964. Or The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park in London in 1969. Seeing one of the two most iconic bands ever in their prime would have been amazing.

That or maybe Woodstock!


I’m a recent convert…thinly spread on toast with a slice of cheese.

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