A job as a steel rigger on a mining project sparked the beginning of Daniel Litherland’s career in construction. With a first-class degree in construction management and a long list of successful government health and education projects in his back pocket, Daniel is leading the charge to deliver vital healthcare facilities for Mace in Australia.
- How did you get into what you do?
- My path to construction was slightly long-winded. I was born in England and moved with my family to Sydney, Australia, when I was five. After graduating high school I wasn’t ready for university so I bounced around, did a ski season for a year and then worked as a landscaper back in Sydney. A couple of years later, I landed a job as a rigger erecting steel on a mining project and that’s when I realised that I wanted to run construction projects. I went to the University of New South Wales and completed a degree in construction management. Having the chance to work out my own path was great. I finished with first-class honours and started working in project management before I graduated. Had I gone straight to university from school, I don’t think I would have performed nearly as well as I did, academically, and maybe I wouldn’t have ended up with a career in construction.
- Why Mace?
Mace was up and coming in the local market when I joined as a project manager in 2016. I was drawn to the opportunity to be part of a small but rapidly growing team within a strong international company. I knew that Mace had a track record for delivering transformational infrastructure projects across the world and I wanted to be part of that journey. When Mace, a couple of years later, decided to expand into Queensland I threw my hat in the ring and was delighted to oversee the opening of the Brisbane office in January 2020. It was a nice move for my family as well – we were ready for a change.
- What do you enjoy most about your role?
- What drives me are the projects that we do and the people that we meet along the way. In Australia, Mace is instrumental in delivering critical infrastructure projects in education, transport and healthcare. I feel very fortunate to work in the healthcare sector and lead a team that helps provide vital healthcare facilities around the country. It’s hard work and can be stressful, but it’s incredibly rewarding. To develop a hospital in a rural area in a country as geographically vast as Australia makes a huge difference to the community, both in terms of the care it provides and the opportunities it creates for employment and local businesses. I’m proud of our team members and I enjoy supporting them to grow professionally. We’re constantly collaborating and learning from other parts of the business to deliver the best value. Our clients benefit hugely from our global expertise in areas of digital innovation and modern methods of construction.
- What’s on the horizon for construction in Australia?
- Healthcare will continue to be a key area for growth. The Government has pledged a significant amount of money into social infrastructure, and it’s a sector that will only expand as the population ages. To meet the increased demand, there’s a trend away from building mega hospitals and instead a focus on the creation of hospital hubs. Patients are encouraged to recover at home, supported by integrated community health centres connected to GP networks. We’re also seeing that a lot of aged assets must be redeveloped, particularly in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, and Covid-19 created a demand for temporary facilities. As with all government-funded projects, there is a strong need for a cost-effective delivery model that increases productivity without compromising on quality or safety - it’s an exciting opportunity for us to make a difference in this space.
- What’s your proudest achievement at Mace?
- I’m fortunate to say that I have had several proud moments. Grafton Base Hospital in New South Wales stands out in my mind as a project that gave us all a great sense of achievement. The hospital staff were working in poor conditions prior to the redevelopment, and it was very rewarding to provide them with a better therapeutic environment, which included a new oncology unit, physio and gym. Another stand-out moment is the fundraising that our team did for Mace Foundation in 2018. I joined the Mace Stelvio bike ride and we raised GBP 60,000. It was a great feeling once my legs had recovered.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
- My key hobby is cycling, and I’m focused on getting my entire family obsessed with it. My son recently had a birthday and I bought him a mountain bike. As a family we love to enjoy the outdoors as much as we can.
“We are constantly collaborating and learning from other parts of the businesses to deliver the best value for our clients”