From humanitarian aid projects in Africa to Olympic projects in Sydney, and on to high-quality and bespoke building projects with Broad Construction, Cyril Cahill has had a varied career. He spoke about his career and approach to leading Broad Construction.
How did you start your career in building?
Once I completed my studies in Construction Technology - Design & Realisation, I decided that I wanted something really challenging to get stuck into in my life, so I started working for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and NGOs delivering aid projects around the world.
I worked for five years in Africa building humanitarian projects like schools, hospitals, and developing sanitation systems. This was an amazing experience and I got to work in Rwanda, Zambia, and Zaire, which is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I took myself out of my comfort zone and had to adapt to new and challenging situations. I learnt to think on my feet and to solve every sort of problem that came at me. In lots of ways, Africa really made me and defined who I am today.
After that I came to Sydney to work on some projects for the 2000 Olympics which was very exciting to be part of. After the Olympics was finished, I decided it was time to go back to my homeland of Ireland and started to work on a string of hospital, educational and pharmaceutical projects.
But you came back to Australia?
I decided to move back in 2011 and landed in Perth without a job. I did some research on the local industry and decided that Broad Construction was the right sort of company for me, so I just walked into the office and asked to meet the boss.
They must have liked that sort of approach because the next day they gave me an interview and offered me a job as a Project Manager on the WesTrac development. Now, eleven years later, I’m the General Manager.
What is the best thing about being the General Manager of Broad Construction?
The diversity in the work we do. Some days might be a challenge, but it’s never boring. Everything we build is different. Whether it is a performing arts centre in Western Australia or a hospital in regional Queensland, or a school or correctional centre, every project has different challenges that must be overcome.
How do you maintain excellence across that diversity of projects and geography?
By learning all the time. We learn from every job, we want to improve all the time, and we listen. If you strive for excellence, you’ll be satisfied that a job has been done well. Overall, I think setting high expectations that are matched to our company’s values is the key.
How do you get your teams to align with that?
The leaders of a company, or any organisation really, have to be clear and transparent about what is required. Then people can see how you behave and if the two match up then people will believe in you.
You should never underestimate what a team can achieve when every member is working to the same vision. Without people you are nothing, we don’t exist.
How does it feel when you walk through a completed job that is just about to be handed to the client?
It’s emotional because I can feel all the dedication and commitment that we put into a project to get such an iconic outcome.
Broad operates in sectors that require a bespoke, high-quality approach. When I think of the challenges that come with every project, and how we overcome them, then I‘m very proud of the commitment and diligence of our team.