Introducing Polly Makim, Senior Projects Engineer at Mosman Council.
FAR MORE THAN ROADS AND STORMWATER
From starting as a Graduate Traffic Engineer over 14 years ago, Polly Makim has worked in nearly every Engineering role on offer within Sydney’s Mosman Council. Today she is a Senior Projects Engineer, overseeing major projects within the area and managing Mosman’s half a billion dollars’ worth of assets.
Polly enjoys working on the entire life-cycle of a project; from problem solving to meeting the community’s needs, to project planning, application approvals, resourcing and coordinating the project’s construction.
Polly says, “Seeing projects through to the end is so satisfying. I think there’s a perception that an Engineering career in Local Government means you’ll be only working in Roads and Stormwater. The reality of the scope of work on offer is so much different”.
Alongside undertaking a large portfolio of work, Polly is involved in a range of additional Local Government initiatives including; the Local Government Women’s Association, University Technology Sydney Advisory Panel and the Active Transport for Sydney Committee. Polly explains, “You’re encouraged to get out and involved in so much – it’s great for networking and personal development.”
THE DESIRE TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY
A significant driver for Polly in her role is the challenge and satisfaction she gets from working alongside residents to achieve great things for the community. She explains, “The ability to manage the human side of projects is key in a council environment. There’s a high level of accountability for the decisions we make – it’s public money, it can be challenging but I think it’s made me a better decision maker.”
Chandra Chandrawansa, Mosman Manager of Engineering confirms, “Here, you have to have a desire to help customers solve their issues using your problem-solving skills and imagination. No day is ever the same because the questions you get from the community are always different. If you have the desire to connect, you can achieve anything.”
BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
In her role as Senior Projects Engineer, Polly is currently managing the re-development and construction of Mosman’s Allan Border Oval. With a rich history, the Oval sits on the site of the resident-initiated and funded World War One remembrance cenotaph, making it a special place for residents to acknowledge those from the area who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Developed through a collaboration of the local sporting clubs, Councillors and award-winning Architects, Archer Office, the works on the Allan Border Oval commenced in May 2021 and are due to be completed in just over a year.
The features of the project include; sporting pavilion, basketball and netball practice court, BBQ area seating steppers, the provision of new pathways including accessible access to the field and building for wheelchairs, grandstand and landscaping.
In addition to creating functional and stylish facilities, a key focus for Polly and the Engineering team is ensuring that the building has excellent environmental performance. The pavilion will be constructed from low carbon ENVISIA concrete, will have solar panels and rainwater collection which will be reused in the building and park.
The design also considered the building’s end-of-life, using components that could be reused, disassembled, recycled or are biodegradable.
Polly comments, “Building green is just so important now. It’s definitely at the forefront of our projects. Along with other environmentally friendly features, The Allan Border Oval has been designed to need very little mechanical ventilation which reduces energy use and our carbon foot print.”
She adds, “It’s about role modelling sustainability to our residents – it’s important that the community sees the council playing our part in addressing the climate change emergency.”
AN ENGINEERING CAREER IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT
An Engineering career with Local Government offers so much; diverse and challenging work, the opportunity to design and deliver projects and initiatives that have a tangible impact on the daily lives of residents and the ability to see projects through from beginning to end.
You’re encouraged to think outside of the box, try new things and be innovative to achieve the best results with public money. It’s challenging, engaging and very rewarding.
Polly comments, “The variety of work you get here is unlike anywhere else. And the best thing is you get the satisfaction of knowing you are delivering real outcomes that benefit the community.”