Iconic approach to construction project management
Julian Doyle knows what great construction project management (CPM) looks like. And the NSW Managing Director of Icon Co is on a mission: to build the next generation of CPM talent right here in Sydney.
Even before he was calling the shots on major projects like the Palazzo Versace and the D1 residential tower in Dubai, Doyle had a vision of his future career.
“I imagined how awesome it would be being the project manager of a project that had big moving parts. I wanted to be the guy pulling the levers on the biggest projects in the world – a massive construction project was my ambition,” he says.
A graduate of the Bachelor of Building (Construction Management) at UTS (now the Bachelor of Construction Project Management) Doyle secured a cadetship with construction company AW Edwards while he was studying. Juggling full-time work with part-time study, he spent the first year of the cadetship as an apprentice carpenter, getting to grips with the hands-on reality of the building industry.
I imagined how awesome it would be being the project manager of a project that had big moving parts. I wanted to be the guy pulling the levers on the biggest projects in the world – a massive construction project was my ambition.
“AW Edwards had a very good program that was cared for and watched very closely by the directors of the business at that time. There was no better builder in town, and no better people to teach people how to be good builders,” he says.
“My first day I was dropped into a site in Martin Place with a toolbelt around me to assist an angry senior carpenter who was supposedly going to mentor me for the next six months. It was my first experience of being sworn at publicly!”
Despite the fiery start, the six-year cadetship proved to be a launching pad for a hugely successful career – Doyle went on to work for leading construction companies including Lendlease, Transfield and Sunland Group, building residential and commercial projects in Vietnam, Dubai and Australia.
While Palazzo Versace, the D1 Tower and Circle on Cavill on the Gold Coast are the most high-profile projects of his career, Doyle has also left his fingerprints on a series of smaller developments across Sydney. These include Renzo Piano’s Aurora Place residential tower and the award-winning refurbishment of the Old Clare Hotel on Broadway – only steps away from his old stomping ground at UTS.
“Being involved with that project is one of my proudest achievements,” Doyle says.
“It’s a little job, a pub across the road I was in and around 30 years ago that’s transformed into a stunning hotel, accommodation and restaurant strip. I think the challenges and the stress involved in delivering that equals every bit the challenge and the stress in building major towers."
Doyle’s time at AW Edwards was instrumental in shaping his professional approach, and he remains closely connected to the Edwards team some 30 years after he was employed there.
Today, he’s paying the experience forward with the establishment of the Icon Co (NSW) Construction Project Management Scholarship for UTS students. The scholarship provides $5000 in funding, as well as a three-year cadetship with the company. Additional cadetship places are also available for high achieving students.
“One of my key objectives was to create and commence a cadetship program similar to what I experienced years ago,” Doyle says.
The cadetship program is currently home to seven UTS students – Luke Abraham, Nick Ruzinovski, Sarah Britton, Marina Zavaleeva, Jessica Turner, Julie Sharff and Lauren Pinn – two of whom have received a scholarship.
Cadets complete a series of structured learning modules that span the breadth of the construction sector, from business development, estimating and contracts positions to site-based project design, coordination and management roles.
The program is overseen by a senior construction manager Ross Smith OAM who puts the cadets through their paces – each module is signed off after the successful completion of an exam, which tests not only the cadet’s own learning but also the role of Icon senior staff in supporting and developing their growth.
Third-year CPM student Nick Ruzinovski, who won the inaugural Icon scholarship at UTS is now in the second year of his cadetship, says the Icon program has set him up for a bright professional future.
“The scholarship gave me an opportunity to start working with Icon, which I think was the best part about it. The grant was a bonus, but the real value was in working for the company and going through the cadetship program,” he says.
“Working with the skilled and highly motivated people at Icon on large projects has been invaluable to my understanding of the industry. The best part about working for Icon is the culture of the company and the relationships that you make with your team, clients and subcontractors."