Oliver

Project Officer

Green Industries SA

How did you get to where you are today?

After studying Forensic and Analytical Chemistry at Flinders University, I was thankful for the chance to apply my skills within the glamourous SA wine industry, coordinating small-scale commercial scientific projects for grapegrowers and winemakers across the state.

After four years at the Australian Wine Research Institute, and an additional year of postgraduate study, I shifted into the realm of industrial wastewater, working with SA Water. I was part of a small team responsible for monitoring and auditing businesses with the aim of minimising the pollutant loading leaving manufacturing sites via the sewer network.

My current role is also aimed at reducing industrial wastewater pollutant loading, but it addresses the issue from a different angle. I now coordinate a grants program that incentivises industry sites to independently implement innovative solutions; reducing the overall wastewater volume and load of businesses across the state.

What does an average day look like?

On an average day, I'm assisting businesses in South Australia to access funding to explore solutions for reducing wasted resources in their processes. That 'waste' could be in the form of energy, water and/or materials, and always comes at a cost to the business.

My work is mainly office-based, but also involves going out on-site to meet face-to-face with business owners and workers, collaborating closely with them to help drive new solutions.

What do you love about your job?

I love being at the interface between the public sector and industry; to witness the level of specialised expertise that exists here in SA when you take a deep dive into any industry.

Whether its food manufacturing, winemaking, electronics recycling, glass processing, water treatment or any other industry, when you start talking to people you quickly see that the knowledge is here, and it always excites and fascinates me to see that expertise in action.

Why do you do what you do?

Our environment, both natural and built, is immensely important to me.

I view the world as one interlinked ecosystem which we are all a part of along with everything else on the planet.

By improving resource productivity within the industrial sector, we can often make bigger reductions to our overall environmental impact than if we simply focus further down the chain. It might sound a little cliché, but the ultimate motivating factor for me at work is that I'm playing a part in reducing the impact of modern society on the natural environment - something that South Australia is so rich in.

What do you see are some of the benefits of working in the public sector?

Working in the public sector has given me variety in my day-to day-role, along with a sense of ownership and responsibility that comes with seeing direct outcomes from your work.

The flexibility I have to set my own working hours has given me the freedom to strike what could well be my ideal life balance.

Only in the public sector have I been able to find a role that not only perfectly brings together the experience I've gained in previous workplaces but also strongly aligns with who I am and what I want to dedicate my time towards achieving.

Why have you chosen to work in South Australia?

South Australia is simply home for me. I've found that the people here are happy, warm and always have time to meet new people, or hear a new perspective on life.

I think it must be because we're all in on a secret here in SA; endless sunshine with beautiful beaches just around the corner, the world's best wineries with sprawling views over the green countryside all without the hassle of scrambling and competing with your neighbours to access it. You can't find that anywhere else in the world.

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