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A coffee with Alby Kuswara, Project Manager

Q. Hi Alby, what’s your role at Fleetwood and what does it entail day-to-day?

A. I’m a Project Manager and I’m tasked with managing projects that Fleetwood have entrusted me to successfully deliver on behalf of our clients. These projects cover quite a diverse range within our communities from boardwalks and shelters to amenities, play structures, and bridges. Lots of variety!

Day-to-day I’m planning, talking to and meeting with clients, partners, and subbies (sub-contractors) to ensure the certainty that areas like site safety, resources, and productivity are being well-managed. So, it’s about coordinating all these things to a process, but also about being relied upon and available to manage any issues as they come up. At any given time, I’ll usually be handling a couple of projects, but I’ll have different degrees of involvement depending on where the project is in the design – manufacturing – construction phase. I’m involved in all these areas, but more heavily with the construction phase.

Q. Can you tell us about your background in landscape construction and how that contributes to your project management role at Fleetwood?

A. Sure thing. Well, I first started as an apprentice in this industry in 2005. I did my trade with a landscape construction company, and after a while, joined a second company in the same field mainly to see how one operation differs from another. At this second company, I developed from a fully qualified tradesman into a site manager and began to do more administrative work. I was still operating on sites, but was getting more involved in budgeting, resourcing, and safety. I was definitely keen to learn and take on more. Pretty soon I got some runs on the board, and was trusted with the jobs that had a fair amount of detail and complexity, which was a great learning experience.

During this time, I was working closely with Project Managers, so I was able to see how this profession worked. This was an area I decided I wanted to pursue, which is where I am now. I’m happy I’ve been able to take all of these different areas of experience and insight and bring that to Fleetwood. As a site manager on the ground at that time, I was able to see what works and what doesn’t work across a lot of processes. This is what I believe helps me to avoid some of the common pitfalls that could be associated with project management in constructions. And it extends to the people management and client relationships side of things too, because both subbies and clients respect that I can relate to their view point and that I’m speaking their language.

 

I know how things are actually built, and I understand everyone’s concerns and priorities. The point is to translate this into a working model where everyone has a sense of certainty that we are all collaborating well, and delivering a high quality final outcome. Because that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.

Q. Speaking of client relationships, I want to ask you about customer service – or more specifically what we call Exceptional Client Experience (ECX) at Fleetwood. What’s your take on ECX, and how do you personally like to contribute to it in terms of client relationships and delivering good project outcomes?

A. I think it’s important that all of us at Fleetwood understand what ECX means to us as a service business, and how we go about delivering it. And I think it’s also important to put your own flavour to it and demonstrate what it means to you as an individual too. For me, I take all my jobs quite personally! By that I mean I take a lot of pride in delivering an outcome where the client has had a great experience. I think that’s because I’m invested in our client’s outcomes and I really enjoy the relationships we have and the shared success we enjoy together. A good example of this is our Malabar Headland Boardwalk project. This was a complex and challenging project for me at times, but the outcome was amazing. The client and stakeholders were extremely happy and it all came together beautifully and is now integral to the whole community.

Like most businesses, design and construction is a ‘people business’ ultimately, and to my mind, our approach with ECX humanises what we do. You have to, of course, tailor the experience to each individual. Some clients or partners enjoy exploring the detail of the project with long conversations, others could be time poor and want to keep any given interaction to the point. You have to adapt, and I’m totally happy doing that.

 

Malabar Headland Boardwalk - a project delivered for the community

Q. What does Fleetwood’s next-generation working model, DesignExecute2, provide to you and to clients? How does it help bring certainty to processes and projects?

A. Good question… it’s like a very stable bedrock that gives me confidence as I deliver a project. For example, during the design process – I know I can always go into the design studio and get up to speed of any particular details with the engineer or draftsman. There’s always that access and availability, which is great. And then when the job is being manufactured and built on site, we also know we are well covered by DE2.

What I mean is there’s often going to be something tricky that comes up, let’s say a site constraint, or a new factor is introduced that influences the construction, or it could just be a complicated project. You need to come up with a solution, and at Fleetwood, we can always move forward quickly because we have that full set of end-to-end capabilities in-house.

I really appreciate the reliability and structure of DE2 because I know it will always be there. There’s so much experience and knowledge within Fleetwood, and I always know who to go to as the need arises. Everyone is open and approachable, everyone has the same agenda, and everyone wants everyone else to succeed. We all want every project to absolutely nail it with a great result out there in the community. To me, that’s what DesignExecute2 is all about.

Q. Thanks for all of these insights Alby. So, what else motivates you and what do you enjoying doing outside of work?

 A. Well, my main preoccupation outside of my job currently is my son who has just turned 9 months. He definitely keeps me busy! But it’s been amazing and has given me a new lease on life. Beyond that, I’m a huge sports tragic – as in Paramatta Eels fan! I played soccer pretty competitively for about 19 years, and now I really enjoy playing golf and tennis whenever I can.

Alby with his 9 month old son.

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