Meet The Team – Andres Rodriguez

Hailing from Colombia, Andres is one of Civil Project Partners’ global citizens with a career in project delivery across South America and Australia. With a love of salsa music, a preference for soccer over Hollywood and an unsurprising reaction to Vegemite, Andres is the subject of our latest Meet The Team.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

As a child, I was always inspired by seeing big projects; excavations, machinery, massive structure being built, so I always wanted to be an engineer.

My father and brother are mechanical engineers, so I inherited the family’s ability with maths and combined it with my passion for civil construction. I also have another brother; he is a journalist – he is the family’s black sheep.

What do you love about working as a civil engineer?

You get exposed to a lot of projects, plans and ideas. I like being able to see how a city, region or country can be shaped by infrastructure and to be part of the process that helps it to happen.

What are you working on at the moment?

On the early stage planning for two pieces of infrastructure in South East Queensland. The first is the upgrade to the Beenleigh Redland Bay Rd, which involves lots of upgrades to intersections. The second is the upgrade to Toombul bus station, designed to improve a busy bus interchange.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

Two years ago I wasn’t an estimator. I’ve still got a lot to learn but to be able to adapt and change the direction of my career is something I am very proud of.

Added to that is the fact that through engineering, I have been able to take my skills leaned in Colombia and bring them around the world.

What’s the best project you have worked on?

There are two that come to mind. The first is the tender for the Mount Lindsey Highway upgrade because I can now see the project coming to life as it has moved to construction.

The second is the Rockhampton to Yeppoon road upgrade. With this project, we were effectively starting from scratch, and it was great to work with a blank canvas and to be able to bring what we know at Civil Project Partners to the whole of a project.

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

To be able to learn. I have learned how to learn, how to work things out and how to learn from any mistakes that you make.

Part of being an engineer is trying things out; sometimes they work, sometimes they do not, but learning why is so important.

What would your last meal be?

Bandeja Paisa, it is a traditional Colombian dish that includes beans, rice, eggs, plantains, chorizo, avocado, black pudding and pork belly. It is delicious but very, very high in calories; in fact, too many Bandeja Paisa meals and it will probably be your last.

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

I can’t even think of the name; it was something at the Brisbane film festival. If I am honest and have the choice of a 90 minute movie or 90 minutes of soccer; I’ll be watching the world game.

Who’s inspires you and why?

Pepe Mujica, the former President of Uruguay. He was a revolutionary who was imprisoned for years by the military dictatorship in the 70s and 80s before becoming President in 2009.

When President he didn’t live in the Presidential Palance, he lived in his own small home and donated 90% of his salary to charities that benefitted Uruguay’s poor people and small businesses, and drives a 25-year-old VW Beetle rather than a limousine. He also made major social reforms such as legalising gay marriage and abortion and stayed true to his ideals when in office, rather than becoming a ‘politician’.

What excites you about the future of infrastructure?

The growth and potential we have in Australia that infrastructure can support. We are a huge country and need to build supersized infrastructure, and we need to do so quickly. This is very exciting for the future of the industry.

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

The Itaipu Dam on the Parana River on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. To build it was a feat of negotiation between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina and that’s before the work started to divert the course of the seventh biggest river in the world, move 50 million tonnes of rock and earth and build the generators which produce 14 GW of energy.

When it was built, the scale and size of the project meant it was the largest hydropower plant on the planet, and I would have loved to have been involved.

What do you do outside work for fun?

I love music, especially traditional Latin music. I’m usually watching soccer at some ridiculous hour because of the time zones, and I have always been interested in cartography, navigation and travel.

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

A concert by Argentinian rock band Soda Stereo. They were one of the biggest bands in Latin Rock, and sadly their lead singer died in 2014. I think I’d like to go to their El Ultimo Concierto at River Plate Stadium, which they played just before they broke up.


I tried it once. I didn’t like it.

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