Bendigo based Steve Verity is the new Principal Advisor to the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia’s Asset Management Program, the IPWEA body delivering knowledge and resources to professionals responsible for managing public infrastructure assets.
The program is responsible for the IPWEA Australasia publications, Practice Notes and asset management training, both in face-to-face and webinar environments. Their work includes input to the International Infrastructure Management Manual (IIMM), Australian Infrastructure Financial Management Manual (AIFMM), NAMS.PLUS and the Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning. The group’s next release will be the International Infrastructure Financial Management Manual (IIFMM).
With continued growth in the program, technical leadership and guidance on strategic direction was needed to take it to the next level.
Verity’s appointment provides a significant boost to the program as he has a solid record of analytical research, training and project management. Verity is keen to work with his colleagues on enhancing the advocacy and training pathway for IPWEA members and public works practitioners as a priority.
Acting IPWEA CEO, Ben Balov said, “We’re excited to have Steve join our growing team. With over 25 years’ experience working in local government and the private sector, Steve’s knowledge and experience will be valuable in helping IPWEA continue to service the industry and progress the asset management program.”
Training and advocacy leadership
Verity’s duties are split between technical leadership on asset management advancement, and steering industry training and member advocacy to meet future challenges.
For the training component, ensuring consistency of approach, updating course documentation and reviewing materials to identify risk and opportunity are essential to meeting the expectations of IPWEA members and the broader civil engineering industry.
“I am extremely passionate about improving outcomes for infrastructure custodians and the opportunity to advocate and work with colleagues in the Public Works sector to achieve this objective is what attracted me to the role,” he said.
Stakeholders will receive renewed attention under Verity’s stewardship, for their input to IPWEA initiatives and the potential for increased two-way engagement for mutual reward.
“I’m keen to see a refocus on member advocacy initiatives such as strong leadership and governance for the long-term benefit of our communities. The team’s focus will be on listening to members, greater collaboration with local Divisions and advocating for a better deal at a National level for Public Works practitioners,” he said.
Practical and professional insight
Verity became a member of the IPWEA during his career as a public works professional in rural regional local government, almost 20 years ago. Since then, his involvement with the organisation has deepened.
“During the mid-1990s, I became acutely aware of the need to access resources that could help me deliver effective outcomes for the local communities where I lived. Being a member of IPWEA enabled me to connect in a meaningful way not only with colleagues and experts from neighbouring municipalities but with those across the globe,” he said.
In 2012, Verity became an IPWEA accredited trainer for its online guided pathway for the asset management planning toolkit, NAMS.PLUS.
“For the past six-years I have also provided several contributions and peer reviews of IPWEA publications and mentored several hundred students through the Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning,” he said.
“While technology has advanced, many organisations still show a propensity to operate in silos with fragmented systems, multiple asset registers and business processes which poses a barrier to progressing to and maintaining a core level of management maturity.”
Infrastructure for today and tomorrow
Maintaining currency and confidence in infrastructure plans is the leading concern for IPWEA, according to Verity, who thinks it’s time for government intervention to secure against risk, and for asset intensive entities, particularly local government, to ensure major capital decisions on infrastructure investment consider whole-of-life cost, risk and service impacts.
“Given the pace of change, it is imperative we have the right infrastructure for tomorrow’s world, and it is incumbent on our leaders to ensure today’s plans are reliable and reviewed regularly in response to changing circumstances to ensure we have the right infrastructure for the future,” he said.
“Most Australian States and Territories mandate asset management plans for local government, however very few ensure programs are aligned to affordable long-term financial plans. Without audit and follow, asset custodians will treat asset management planning as optional, resulting in less than effective outcomes for our communities. Making it compulsory sends the right message of importance.”
A Pathway for practitioners
To explore and progress your career, the IPWEA offers a suite of publications, subscription programs and training packages designed to enhance the quality of life for our communities using best practice tools and resources. Details about the Asset Management Program can be found here.