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From work placement to operations management—before graduation

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Robert Daly at GCMarine

In less than a year, Robert Daly has gone from Draftsman at a Gold Coast start-up to Operations Manager overseeing 20 projects.

It's an impressive feat for a 21-year-old who’s yet to graduate. Oh, and he’s also found the time to set up his own consulting company.

Still in the final year of his ocean engineering degree, Robert is animated when describing his work with GCMarine, which he’s seen grow from a start-up specialising in national pontoons to an international provider of both pontoons and floating offices.

“The floating office is where stuff gets really interesting; a lot of what I have learnt at AMC is incorporated into the design and construction of these. Seeing multi-story designs coming through, and features like rooftop helipads: the sky’s the limit with these!”

Robert has been with the company since 2015 thanks to AMC's Co-operative program, which sees eligible students extend their degrees by a year to undertake three extended, paid work placements.

As Operations Manager he now oversees all the company’s projects through the drafting, engineering, fabrication, construction and installation phases.

Managing staff as well as contractors, dredging, trucks, cranes and surveying; he also acts as the point of contact for clients during this whole process. What’s more, he continues to do it all remotely during his study periods back at AMC.

“It keeps me on my toes,” he says, with understatement.

Having completed three work placements, set up his own maritime consulting company—RKD Maritime Consultants—and with his five-year Co-operative program degree drawing to a close, he reflects on what will have been quite a journey.

“I like the idea of having a degree that sets me apart from everybody else and being able to try different work places. Gaining experience in different fields really gets you on track to understand where you want to be in the future.

“Coming to the end of the Co-operative program, I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience—both personally and professionally—which has prepared me to make an impact in my future work.”

With so much under his belt already, there seems no doubt that this impact will be a remarkable one.

Published on: 29 Nov 2016