Mr Martin Hill
About the speaker
Our speaker today is Mr Martin Hill.
Martin is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Estate Master Property Software and also the Founder and Director of HillPDA, a multidisciplinary, national property economic and planning consultancy firm.
His knowledge and experience in financial modelling, development feasibility and valuation has allowed him to develop analytical and financial software which has become an industry standard in Australia.
Martin has held a number of other roles such as Commissioner for The Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel for the Currawong site at Pittwater and the Director of the Kingston Foreshore Development Authority.
He has received a number of awards including two RAPI awards, Darling Harbour East Masterplan Design Award 2006 and PIA Award Excellence in Planning Five Dock Masterplan 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours from the University of Sydney, a Masters of Real Estate at the University of NSW and a Masters of Property Development from UTS.
It gives me great pleasure to invite Mr Martin Hill to deliver the occasional address.
Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, the Faculty Deans, the Academic staff, our distinguished guests, family and friends,
and of course the stars of the show – You… the graduands
Thank you for your warm welcome and the privilege to address you today.
I know how you feel today.
I too have sat in your chair in this great hall waiting to receive my degrees
- I know the effort it takes to pass, especially when balanced with work and family duties
- I know too the excitement of finding your passion to study something your are interested in
- But most important, I also know from a parent’s perspective, how proud your family and friends feel sitting by your side today, please enjoy this attention and the recognition you deserve…
My address will reflect on my journey from graduation that bridges both the IT industry and the property industry.
My first degree was in Science, back in the late 70s where I learnt to use Fortran using punch cards to programme the Uni. Mainframe!
By the time I was in the work force the computer languages I learnt at Uni, were already becoming redundant. A personal computer on every office desk was dawning. The opportunity knocked for business software suitable for the PC, not distant mainframes.
[On the subject of change & opportunity]
The personal computers with spreadsheeting programmes opened the path for more complex algorithms for development analysis and investment appraisal. But the professions were slow to acknowledge these shifts in analytical methods.
I remember in the early 90s doing a demonstration of my DCF valuation software stored on a floppy disk to Senior Director at a Valuation Firm.
His glassy eyed response was… “I hope in my career I will never have to touch one of those” – pointing to my suitcase sized laptop.
How things have changed. Thanks in many ways to your academics staff at the faculty of building that saw this paradigm and were early adopters of DCF appraisal and software. This made their students industry ready and leader in best practice from the mid-90s onwards.
The point I want to stress is that change is part of life … and our education can never remain static.
The second point is that I encourage you to broaden your knowledge outside your professional discipline. There is no such thing as too much knowledge. If someone says that to you – they are jealous.
[Let me reflect on the Creative use of technology]
You all know how rapidly things changed over the next 20 years with exponential growth in computer-chip power, the arrival of the Internet and the growth of mobile devices. This technology revolution has not abated as we see new opportunities in the Cloud and the growing armada of Apps that fill not only our PCs but also our tablets and phones.
The digital revolution spread quickly also to the professions including yours in
- valuation and
- property development.
Creative use of technology was not limited to the computerisation of system processes but also to how we analysed information and how we organised the workforce for greater collaboration.
This called for a broader base of professional skills and multiskilling.
In the new collaborative workforce appreciation of other professional skills is paramount.
A contemporaneous symbol of change and innovation in both technology and organisational structure can be found with Google, as the tangible example of how connectivity, collaboration and technology has shaped from global communications to personal relations.
Thank God for Google!!! I wish I had it for my assignments at Uni.
As a Fellow of Australian Property Institute I have seen my industry struggle with these new methods of appraisal, naming DCF analysis to their professional standards. Fortunately your Faculty of Building has been an innovator and leader in this field now for close to 28 years making its graduates the best in the field.
In 1988 at the newly formed University of Technology of Sydney, I started one of the first courses dedicated to the property development and management – the Grad Dip in Urban Estate Management Course. We were called Land Economist then. Many thought in those early days it was a course in farming. Fortunately the name change to Property Economics helps remove that confusion.
[On the subject of education]
The saying - To teach is to learn – has a lot of meaning to me!
I was flattered when asked to come back to lecture to post grads in the school of Building.
With a young family and fledging business, this supplementary pay was welcomed but most importantly it gave me the discipline to structure my knowledge and to explore the first principals of financial modelling.
This opportunity over several years gave me the insight to develop and refine the development modelling technique I now employ in my software that it is used in over 50 countries in the world now.
The bottom line here is: If you get the opportunity to teach. Do it!
If not at Uni– then put your hand up for a work or industry presentation.
Get involved in industry committees and publications. This will allow you to shine at work and in your profession. Open your perspective of the industry and step out of your box to discover the multiple possibilities that networking and collaboration will bring to your professional career.
[On the subject of your personal networks]
I also strongly recommend you square off any pizza and or beer debts with your existing class mates before you leave today.
Trust me. You will likely cross paths again with your uni colleagues at work or in academia.
They know and trust you, they may even recommend you for a job a position or a future adventure. The bonds you have formed with your fellow class colleagues will follow and assist your career.
Friends and colleagues are a gift we give to ourselves. Take care of them.
[On the subject of Innovation & Entrepreneurship]
Often the greatest innovations come from those environments outside the established networks. Innovation does not necessarily need experience but it does need imagination and a lot of perspiration. Use your youth to see things in a different light.
I’m speaking to you entrepreneurs and innovators out there!! – you can do it!
But, let me warn you there is no manual out there and if there was it would be out of date.
There are many ways where collaboration leads to innovation, and you have sources like this University tech hubs, that helps and encourage entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams.
Quoting the great Sir Peter Hall from his book Cities in Civilisation, it is important to see the “roles and merits of small-scale bottom-up, garage-type innovation and the role of networking for the birth of new firms”.
A good case in point Sir Peter Hall reviews in his book is Silicon Valley and the role of university colleague networking. You have this opportunity too if you stay tuned.
I say be bold in your thoughts and be enthusiastic to make a difference. You can never be too enthusiastic.
You work harder and longer than most and that does not change with success.
Life balance you question? Well, simple answer is: Just love your work. If you have passion for your work there is no distinction between work and play. They embody each other.
I can call myself entrepreneur as well. I started my first business at 32. My only regret I didn’t start it earlier. Also you are never too old to start. I look forward to a new adventure in big Cloud real estate data in the not so distant future. That dream keeps one inspired to make a difference for my property industry.
So now: transport yourselves fast forward to the future. Your university days are left way behind you. You have seen a bit of the world and your professional career looks pretty good.
But ask yourself this – Will I be making a difference?
You have the knowledge, you have the connections, so make your dreams and dare to do your best.
We have faith in your ability.
Thank you very much.