Graduate Profile

Tania Tipene - Project Engineer
Tania Tipene, and Greg Whitehorn – Project Manager, United Civil

Tania Tipene, and Greg Whitehorn – Project Manager, United Civil

Tania Tipene - Civil Engineering

Project Engineer, United Civil Construction

“I started work as a traffic controller (‘stop-go lollipop person’) and labourer with United Civil Construction 10 years ago, and I’m now the Project Engineer for their Kerikeri Sewer Reticulation Project contract. I’m from Te Hapua so my first three years with the company were on the Cape Reinga seal extension project.”

“The company then brought me down to the Kamo bypass project to work as the Site Traffic Management Supervisor (STMS) where I worked closely with the Project Managers and Contract Manager. Our Contract Manager at the time asked if I was interested in studying civil engineering and when I said yes, he put me forward to be vetted by the Managing Director of United Civil Construction for supported study. A year later I started my Diploma in Civil Engineering part time while still working full time for United Civil Construction.”

“I felt a bit out of my league when I first started as I hadn’t done any study for the previous 10 years but I got a huge amount of support from my tutors and work colleagues. I would email these guys at all hours and they were happy to help where possible. A lot of what I learnt in class, I was able to put into practice. After four years of study I graduated in 2017.” 

“My specialist topic was waste-water so I can now directly apply that knowledge to my current job up in Kerikeri. I work closely with the Project Manager, Greg. He’s teaching me some of the contractual aspects of the project as well as certain engineering aspects that were picked up during his years of experience. I’m amazed at my own growth, especially at how much information I’ve now absorbed. 

“I’m hoping my 10-year journey from labourer to Project Engineer sets an example to not only the other guys in our company, but also to the whānau back home, that anything is possible. I feel so lucky to have the support of the company and my work colleagues, even going to the extent of attending my graduation. It felt like an achievement for everyone and helps us all see what’s possible.”

“My long-term dream is to become a well-recognised Project Engineer and then I might just take Greg’s job as Project Manager one day!”


Supervisor/mentor for Tania Tipene

Greg Whitehorn – Project Manager, United Civil

“I’ve worked with Tania for two of the three projects I’ve managed since joining United Civil Construction fairly recently. She is a great supervisor, can take control of the team, is structured and organised, and we work really well together - bouncing some good banter between us.”

“Tania is the Project Engineer for the Kerikeri Sewer Reticulation Project and I’m the Project Manager. I deal more with the contractual and commercial side of things with Tania running the day-to-day aspects of the project. She is very capable with the technical requirements of the project, so I’m starting to impart some of the contractual and commercial considerations to her. At the moment she’s consolidating her learning from the Diploma in Civil Engineering but there’ll come a time when she will run her own projects and I can help prepare her for that.”

“I like to impart some of my knowledge by mentoring Tania, but in turn I have gained a lot from Tania since she has completed her course. Everything is fresh in her mind so she keeps us current. When we are testing, for example, Tania is fully aware of the parameters and specifications. The NorthTec course content is solid, relevant and current.”

“Tania is really good at running the guys. She’s clear when she tells them ‘we’re doing this’ and ‘we’re doing it like this’. She is stubborn so she’ll keep persevering to get something sorted and this gets respect from the team. She’s reliable so I can leave her to manage and follow through on her own, she does thorough background research, and she is sound with quality assurance.”

“By adding an understanding of contractual scope, specifications, budget control, variations, and monthly reporting that need to be fulfilled in dealing with internal management, clients and engineers, Tania will be equipped to step up into Project Management. She’ll then be looking to take my job!”

 


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