Future Power city transport

1 March 2019 Kate Palmer

Never one to stand still in the market, leading engineering and design consultancy WSP Opus has started 2019 with a new structure and determination to deliver outstanding value for clients.

Asking the question “what if we can?”, the 149-year old company has aligned around five key sectors: Property & Buildings, Transport, Water, Environment and Power alongside its unrivalled regional network of 40 offices across New Zealand.

Ian Blair, WSP Opus Managing Director, says the new approach supports a client-centric mindset and unprecedented levels of collaboration.

“In order to deliver the most innovative solutions for our clients and New Zealand’s communities we need to consistently challenge ourselves to ensure we’re in the best place to create what matters for future generations. Our new sector-aligned structure brings our expertise even closer to clients and projects.”

Ian Blair HS Shots 2

Ian Blair, WSP Opus Managing Director 

Blair is excited to be leading the company through a period of positive change as it leverages the power of being a global organisation for the benefit of local projects.

“Being able to harness the best experts in the world and bring them in to consult on local projects is game-changing, both for our people and our clients. Given the challenges we’re designing solutions for – coastal erosion, seismic resilience, renewable energy – we need the best minds collaborating.”

Recent examples of this approach include:

  • Working alongside WSP Australia delivering the structural and geotechnical design for Auckland’s newest skyscraper, 65 Federal Street.
  • Bringing together experts from the UK and around New Zealand to address ways to prepare for, respond to and recover from a rise in sea levels in low-lying communities driven by climate change.
  • Teaming up with WSP colleagues who have worked in similar environments to deliver a waste water infrastructure project in Tauranga, a growing city at risk of flooding, liquefaction and tsunamis. 

 Key appointment to drive Property and Buildings Sector

Driving this market-leading approach are some of the industry’s foremost experts in their specialties. This has seen Neil Barr join WSP Opus and the New Zealand Leadership Team as Director – Property and Buildings.

“Neil is a transformational leader and the sort of driving force that defines what the WSP Opus brand stands for in the market,” says Blair.

Neil Barr

Neil Barr, Director - Property & Buildings 

For Barr, the massive breadth of connected expertise is one of the most compelling things about the consultancy.

“The level of global expertise that can be brought together to solve a particular issue is impressive – as is the willingness to collaborate. With a workforce of almost 50,000 there is a vast and powerful specialist knowledge base to call on,” he says. “What excites me the most is the ability to offer clients a cradle-to-grave approach for the full lifecycle of their building. Having global thought leaders to call on means that our clients can be future proofed with the right intelligence. That’s a huge point of difference.”

Barr is passionate about human-centred design and sees it as the most crucial aspect of planning for a built environment.

“Creating memorable experiences for the clients of our clients is what will define success in the future. Ultimately, it’s not what the thing looks like, it’s about the experience it gives the user and you can’t cut corners with that.”

WSP Opus’ sector-led approach has resulted in the following appointments to the New Zealand Leadership Team:

  • Carole Smith, Director - Environment: With over 20 years’ experience in environmental consulting in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Carole has a well-earned reputation for being strongly committed and versatile, with a multi-disciplinary background involving project management, technical and management roles.
  • Rebecca Tjaberings, Director – Power: Rebecca is a chartered engineer with 20-years professional experience, 12 of which have been in the power industry in Australia and New Zealand in both consulting and technical project management roles. During this time Rebecca has had a significant focus on renewable energy development and in strategic asset management for network clients.

The WSP Opus New Zealand Leadership Team can be viewed here.