Stronger Together. Preparing for FY23.

On Tuesday 14 June, Team Taylor came together for the Annual Staff Conference. Hosted at The Winx Stand, Australian Turf Club, this was a fantastic opportunity to reflect, celebrate and connect.

More than 220 Taylor employees congregated at Royal Randwick Racecourse, to reflect on a successful, although challenging, FY22 and prepare for the coming fiscal year. With the construction of this venue completed in December 2021, it was fitting to come together in a state-of-the-art facility built by our own.

Taylor welcomed Leslie McLeod, a Yuin, Dharawal and Ngarigo custodian and loreman to lead the smoking ceremony to mark the start of the event. After this, Leslie led a traditional Welcome to Country to show respect to Elders past and present.

Mark Taylor, Managing Director, George Bardas, Chief Executive Officer and Clive Wickham, Chief Financial Officer took to the stage to lead the State of the Nation address. Reflecting on the unprecedented nature of FY22 due to COVID-19 escalation in pricing and inclement weather impacts, they acknowledged the resilience shown across the organisation in the face of shifting industry regulations and unforeseen lockdowns, thanking staff for their ongoing commitment to safety and wellbeing throughout.

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Speaking to the crowd, George Bardas said,

Site housekeeping and reporting is critical to achieving a positive safety culture. Most importantly, safety is all about behaviour – ensuring our co-workers and management teams always have safety top-of-mind.

An esteemed panel of Taylor leaders were invited to reflect on site-based challenges, innovations and wins from the past 12-months. Moderated by Tim Christie, General Manager – General Build, the panel was focused on conversation between Adam Vassallo, Project Manager, Damian Fisher, Senior Site Manager, Ian Short, Project Manager and Katherine Barrionuevo, Senior Design Manager.

Reflecting on what set Taylor apart when tendering for the Sydney Opera House project , Adam Vassallo said, “We acted with honesty and integrity, respecting the client’s boundaries. Collaboration and communication is essential, so we focused on building a strong relationship with them during pre-construction.”

Discussing challenges in FY22, Ian Short commented, “COVID-19 lockdowns had a big impact on the industry. Relying on virtual platforms was a big shift – it’s nice to be connecting with our people and subcontractors onsite again.” Katherine Barrionuevo added, “COVID-19 really highlighted the importance of face-to-face communication with clients.”

Closing the segment, Damian Fisher explored the positives that arose during these uncertain times, “It taught people to show compassion across the industry. Construction can be tough – for everyone, it was a really challenging time on both personal and professional levels. I saw people leading with compassion and kindness to their peers and wider teams – we got through it, together.”

After morning tea on The Winx Stand’s Terrace, Team Taylor enjoyed a team building activity led by Be Challenged. These activities are centred around teamwork, cohesion and fast-paced collaboration – groups were formed, with each team racing to ‘stop the clock’ by solving an array of riddles and puzzles. Unbeknownst to staff, they were also raising funds for Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation, Taylor’s ongoing charity partner in real time!

Later in the day, Taylor presented Mark Coyne, Sporting Chance Board Member and Bridget McGinley, Clinical Nurse Consultant with a cheque for a total of $95,000, which could not have been achieved without the generous support of our loyal subcontractors and suppliers at Taylor’s Annual Charity Golf Day in March. Funds will support mobile home care units that make life easier for children with cancer, as well as outreach programs for kids with cancer from regional areas.

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Following this, George Bardas addressed the evolution of Taylor’s partnership with KARI Foundation, before inviting Casey Ralph, Chief Executive Officer and Cain Slater, Chief Operating Officer to join him on stage. Together, they announced the development of a KARI / Taylor #WomenBreakingGround Scholarship to support high achieving female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in tertiary studies in Construction. In the first year, Taylor will support five high school students, and in the coming years will follow that support through to one selected candidate’s 4 years’ of University and a Taylor Cadetship. More news to follow shortly.

KARI singers then treated guests to a rendition of Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best,’ in First Nations language and costume. This wonderful performance opened the Annual Awards Lunch, a time to recognise high-performing teams and individuals across the organisation.

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Cain Slater, KARI’s Chief Operating Officer, and Casey Ralph, Chief Executive Officer, launch the KARI / Taylor Scholarship at Taylor’s Annual All Staff Conference

We look forward to hosting important events every year, establishing new connections and cultivating existing relationships as we prepare for a dynamic future, together.

We would like to thank Randwick Race Course, KARI Foundation, Be Challenged, Sporting Chance and all those who made this incredible day possible.

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