Group Manager - Technology and Innovation, Downer Group
Jeff Sharp is engineering change across the diverse business interests of Downer, the leading provider of integrated services in Australia and New Zealand. As Group Manager - Technology and Innovation, he’s charged with advancing and commercialising emergent technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things) and Downer’s Smart City applications. Jeff is at the forward edge of transforming possibilities into reality. And he knows that results are driven by matching ideas to customer needs, and networking - in all its guises.
Downer knows infrastructure better than any other single organisation in the country. And it holds onto that No. 1 position by keeping customers at the heart of everything it does” Jeff says. “Importantly, we don’t try to be all things to all customers. By teaming up with the best technology partners Downer isn’t locked into any platform or solution. We can see what’s coming and provide a service that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the market.
As someone tasked with keeping one of the region’s largest and most progressive engineering firms on point for a long, successful future, Jeff’s perspective as an innovation lead is influenced by how passion, choice and luck have intersected throughout his career.
On leaving school, Jeff encountered the difficulty facing most young people as they head off to uni: “You can’t see what the real world looks like or what careers will unfold”. It was only as he was coming to the end of his double Civil Engineering and Science degree that he connected the primary purpose engineers serve. He saw that at its core, engineering is problem solving and “I liked puzzles, so this profession was actually a good idea for me!”
He says a “great stroke of luck got my career off to a flying start” as he was thrown in the deep end overseeing the construction of a factory in Singapore: “I was given the plans, a list of contractors and told to go and work out the best way to build it. It was project management at the ownership level.” The opportunity to create something from the ground up provided Jeff early and valuable lessons in self-motivation, accountability, stakeholder management and the critical importance of building and supporting high performance teams.
All individuals interviewed for this series were selected based on their professional standing and experience, and are wholly independent of any commercial relationship with Konica Minolta. Their comments and insights were provided freely without any form of payment. None of the comments provided constitute an endorsement of Konica Minolta products or services.