Interview with Robbie McGavin

Facility Manager

Robbie McGavin

Case Study

Name: Robbie McGavin
Facility Manager
DPI Salisbury Research Centre, Queensland

  •  Associate Diploma of Applied Science

  • Bachelor of Applied Science

  • Graduate Certificate in Project Management

What does your job involve?
My job has two aspects to it, one is research and other is managing the DPI’s Brisbane research facility.
In the research side of things I’m involved in developing, leading and participating in a range of R&D projects in hardwood and softwood processing, seasoning, mechanical and physical properties determination, product development and wood utilisation.
As a facilities manager, I look after the day to day running of the facility that comprises laboratories, a sawmill and workshops.

What’s a typical working day for you?
There really isn’t a typical day, is depends on what hat I’m wearing. There’s usually some scheduled stuff – report writing and the like, general housekeeping. If a research project I’m involved in is at an active stage, I might find myself travelling too. Then I can always be sure of an unexpected challenge or to. You have to be good at multitasking in this role!

What’s the best thing about your job?
I reckon there are at least two good things about my job. The first is getting involved with researching topics that help us use the only renewable large-scale building material we have – wood – more efficiently. The second is the variety – both of the research that I’ve been involved in and the day to day work. Through the facilities management side of my job I’ve been involved in forest product processing and seasoning infrastructure; NATA accredited engineering laboratories; PC3, PC2 and general laboratories and glasshouses; AQIS registered facilities; record archive centre; administration centres and conference facilities.
It’s always interesting and I’m always learning something new!

Are there travel opportunities?
Absolutely! We get involved in research projects that are run locally, interstate and internationally. Often one of our people will spend months away working on a particular project. Plus there are local and overseas conferences and that sort of thing too.

How did you get into this role?
I’ve always been interested in science and nature, so this seemed a natural thing to do. After I’d done my first qualification, I just followed the areas I was interested in.
Where could you see your career heading in the future?
I’d like to do some more study – I’m working on that!

What sort of person do you think would be interested in your job?
Someone who cares for the environment and who is interested in the science behind it – how it all works and why. They would also have to have good organisational and people management skills.

Do you think you are making a difference?
I hope so – and I believe I am. As I said, wood is the only large scale building material we have that’s renewable. So working to find ways to make more of the wood we grow and encouraging people to use more wood has to be a good thing – and I think that’s making a difference.
Please note: We spoke to Robbie about his career and what he does day to day. We hope you find this useful and interesting – but please remember, that all jobs are not exactly the same and other roles with the same title may be different in many respects. You should confirm all the details of a particular job with the organisation offering it.