For over three decades Hickory has continually invested in the development of systems and people to improve the way we build, Blair Whelan is one of those people.
Hickory’s Graduate Program, designed to build future leaders and fast-track their professional development, has seen fit for Blair who has quickly evolved into a Project Manager. Starting the program in 2017, Blair began his career in the residential building industry but soon grew interest in large scale construction – in awe of how sites ran and operated. Blair’s main goal was to get involved in different roles and push boundaries, a mirror image of what he has achieved to this date.
“Being a Hickory Graduate, I was exposed to many different opportunities, education tools and a platform to understand where to go next, it gave me the motivation to explore the possibilities that lay ahead of me.”
From Graduate to Structures Coordinator, Contracts Administrator to Project Coordinator for FitOut, Assistant Project Manager to Project Manager – it’s fair to say Blair found the variety and growth he was after in large-scale construction.
Working on a total of four projects including Banksia, Sky One, Hyatt Centric and Meriton Suites, Blair’s loyalty to Hickory has stemmed from his love for innovation. “The opportunity to explore and gain experience under one of Australia’s most innovative companies is unique in the industry.” Currently working on Meriton, Blair has been given the opportunity to help lead the integration of HBS generation 8 into Melbourne’s first Meriton Suites Hotel. The installation of this methodology requires a high level of design and site coordination, the complexity of this reflects Blair’s capabilities which have been found through his determination and hard work over his career.
Recalling the past five years, Blair’s fondest project was Hyatt Centric. “The people and the environment we worked in was so successful, we all felt very fulfilled with what we had achieved especially as we were a young team, and it was through multiple lockdowns.” Hyatt Centric was created to mirror the vibrance and energy of Melbourne, it’s unique Fit-out incorporates custom rugs inspired by the Melbourne wool industry and tiling referencing the Victorian era-inspired brickwork. With a high attention to detail, Blair seamlessly led the fit-out, including the comprehensive Common Areas, whilst maintaining the intricacies within the design.
As a graduate, Blair was introduced to many great mentors, one of those being Poly Kiosses whom he still looks up to today. “The mentoring now extends beyond day-to-day project work, Poly gives me help and guidance on how to improve as a person and develop as a leader.”
Recently promoted to a Project Manager, Blair has some advice for others wanting to get into the industry, “Get as much experience as you can, there’s always an opportunity to learn and grow, whether it’s the role that you want or not, it’s a steppingstone for something else.”