Being a regional chair exposes you to commercial activity outside of your 9-5 role – with Hugo Bosman

Self-professed cycling fanatic, Hugo Bosman, uses and designs cycling and walking tracks all over Aotearoa. A civil engineer and project manager, Hugo talked to us about his new gig at Waka Kotahi and his previous role as a Regional Chair for ACE New Zealand. 

Hugo and his wife on the Rimutaka bike trail

Hugo, you're moving to Waka Kotahi, tell us more? 

I have been working for WSP in Wellington since 12 June 2017. I remember that exact date as my wife and I had just arrived from South Africa. 

In May this year, I saw the job advert come up and thought it would be interesting to try client-side. I was ready for a new challenge, and working within government will provide that. 

My role with Waka Kotahi is as Senior Project Manager (Complex). The team is growing substantially as they are a lot of positions being advertised across the country. I suspect they're getting ready for the shovel-ready projects the government is starting to announce. 

It'll be an excellent opportunity to work client-side and to get to know consultants from other organisations and to work with other government agencies. 

What are your greatest career highlights so far? 

I'd have to say one of the greatest highlights was working on the Maitai to Rocks Road shared pathway and cycle project. It’s 1.2 kilometres of shared pathways and cycleways in Nelson while working at WSP in Wellington. I was coordinating a team from all corners of the country which comes with its own set of challenges! But seeing the shared pathways and cycleways built and a continual increase in people walking and cycling on them each day is a big success for me. 

Hugo and colleagues on a site visit

Why did you apply to be an ACE New Zealand Regional Chair? 

I was initially working as a Young Professional at ACE New Zealand. We'd organise events for other young professionals in the industry, and it was an excellent opportunity to meet other consultants. The previous Regional Chair approached me about doing the Regional Chair role, which I was up for. 

Being a Regional Chair is an opportunity to network with other consultants, and to get involved in dealing with issues that if you aren't in management positions, you wouldn't otherwise know about. It exposes you to commercial activity outside of your daily 9-5 role. It's also a chance to work with the CEO (Paul Evans), and the ACE New Zealand board. 

You are the voice of the industry being a Regional Chair. It opens your mind and allows you to be a part of the decision-making process solving issues you wouldn't usually get to be a part of. 

It also makes you work with people from all different walks of life and stages in their careers. I was one of the younger members benefiting from some of the more senior Regional Chairs experience and knowledge of the industry. 

I've made some great contacts and plan to continue those relationships into the future. 

So you're a keen cyclist? 

I'm a mountain biker predominantly but do enjoy the occasional road ride to one of the many coffee shops around Wellington to enjoy a flat white and a doughnut! 

It's one of the reasons we moved to Wellington - we are so lucky that most of our green spaces have hundreds of kilometres of cycle tracks. There are different grades, uphill and downhill and lots of open stretches of road. In May, right after the COVID-19 lockdown, my wife and I did the Timber Trail in the Pureora Forest Park. We're planning on doing the Old Ghost Road in Buller in November with a big bunch of friends. 

I think it helps that I'm a cyclist when designing and building active transportation facilities for work. I know what makes a great pathway and what twists and turns to watch out for. 

Tell us about your study history? 

I studied Civil Engineering at the University of South Africa in Cape Town. I then when on to do a diploma in project management. I am currently enrolled at the University of Canterbury, completing a Masters in Engineering. I think having that engineering background helps me be a better project manager. I'm able to answer technical questions, and I can easily have a conversation with engineers or clients. It saves a lot of time! 

Connect with Hugo on LinkedIn