From the jungles of Sumatra to mega projects

September 05, 2022
  • Project

From an 18-month stint building a gold mining processing plant and infrastructure in the remote jungles of northern Sumatra to an offshore pipeline and tank farm project in Sri Lanka during the civil war, CPB Contractors’ Alastair Ramsden has proven he’s not one to shy away from a challenge.

Following completion of a delivery role on Melbourne’s Eastlink, Alastair started work with Leighton Asia in late 2006 after being inspired to take up the call to join the company’s Management Development Program. 

“They were calling for people with lots of enthusiasm who wanted to accelerate their career progression and experience different countries and cultures,” explains Alastair. 

“I could have stayed in Melbourne and followed the traditional career pathway in Australia, but I wanted to challenge myself and pursue opportunities to step up.”

The desire to challenge has become a constant mantra for Alastair and lead to a 12-year stint leading diverse projects and businesses across Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, and Sri Lanka before returning to Melbourne in 2019. 

He is currently working as the Director of Tunnelling, Building and ME&I on the West Gate Tunnel Project.  

Alastair says his time in Asia shaped both his life and career which provided him the opportunity to experience leading many different types of teams and projects. 

“Often the best opportunities to prove yourself aren’t in the “easy” jobs but in the ones that challenge us. They give you a chance to really demonstrate your capabilities.”

When he decided it was time to shift his career into the delivery of mega projects, he was offered a role at CPB Contractors and put into the leadership team at the West Gate Tunnel Project.

“It was definitely a bonus for me being able to move to another part of the CIMIC Group when I decided it was time to change my career direction,” says Alastair.
And while the West Gate Tunnel Project may be worlds apart from the jungles of Sumatra, there are also many similarities. 

“Having worked with delivery teams from different countries and cultures, I have been struck by the similarities rather than the differences.” 

“The core challenges we all face are to achieve the project objectives through solving problems, working as a team, and driving progress on site. All with an overwhelming desire to come in each day and do our best.”

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