Nine years ago, Craig Hunter joined Hickory on its journey in becoming one of the most diverse property companies in Australia. Unsure at the time of what to expect, Craig knew that the construction industry was oozing with potential, he recognised there was an opportunity to transform and digitise processes as the industry evolved – a journey he wanted to be on.
“The tipping point for me was my interview, Michael really wanted to know more about me as a person. He understood that I was technically capable, but he also wanted to understand if I would be a culture fit at Hickory.” Entering into Hickory as a Network Systems Engineer, Craig and the team were on a mission to digitise manual processes and build a strong rapport with the rest of the organisation as a support division.
Continuously facing forward, the Hickory IT division have implemented many digital transformations in the last nine years, the Precast Management System being the most prominent in Craig’s workbook. “It’s a mini-warehouse management system built by our IT team internally. We do things so differently here at Hickory with our own logistics and manufacturing so there’s no off-the-shelf solution that can do what this system does, it’s inherently unique. To me, that’s the biggest process I’m proud of.” Many of these unique processes and digital transformations Craig and his team have performed, have been born out of Hickory’s in-house capabilities.
Now the IT Manager of Hickory, Craig’s main goal is to raise standards across the business through development and further learning, which he says is crucial in the technology space. “Things move quite quickly in the technology industry and to stay ahead you have to have training and development with those newer technologies.”
Harnessing Craig’s eager attitude towards development and further learning, Hickory recognised his drive and passion, offering him the opportunity to attend the Driving Digital Strategy course at Harvard. A course centered around short, sharp, focused weeks, this really encapsulated Hickory’s approach to further learning. “There are always conversations about Hickory’s DNA and doing things differently. That is something that Hickory have instilled in me – don’t be afraid to try.”
Looking at the impact digital transformation is having across industries globally, Craig dived headfirst into Boston and landed at Harvard for one week. “Opportunities like this, where you’re made to think outside the box and explore what else is out there, those opportunities are really important.” Craig describes how he was able to disconnect, this allowed him to have a birds-eye view on both Hickory and the wider technology space. Although IT in the Construction industry can look quite different, Craig highlighted how he was able to apply learnings and case studies to his own work. His key takeaway was that digital transformation is a journey, “This key message really reinforced the decisions we’ve made at Hickory and how we are progressing and strengthening our core.”
As a manager, Craig talks a lot about how developmental opportunities and further learning have impacted his career, taking his learnings and injecting them into his team, “Technology is an industry where you commit to continuous learning and experimentation, the team is one of the reasons we’ve been able to navigate and build up the capability to deliver complex systems.”
Construction doesn’t always look like work boots and high-vis, the dedication from Craig and his team in a large transformation phase has been instrumental in creating better places for future communities.