Ryan Orr 2021 Emerging Leader finalist

Meet Ryan Orr, Regional Leader Bay of Plenty and Waikato at GHD and 2021 Emerging Leader Award finalist. 

Ryan Orr

Ryan Orr

How would your team describe your leadership style?

That's a really interesting question because I haven't had a style that I have set out to achieve. It has changed the more I’ve progressed in the company, I think in the early days it was about me leading from the front and trying to do everything myself. And as our business has grown, I’ve realised that that isn’t possible.  

So it has been an intentional change to move from a leadership style where I am fronting the front to moving to setting the direction but involving others to make things happen.  

I like to build trust in my team to deliver. It’s all about giving people opportunities – it's about being there with people to be in meetings with our clients to show what they can achieve. Making sure that you step back to give them their own time. And be there to support - supporting them to take off and let them fly on their own accord.  

I was given some advice – I should pick the best of all leadership styles and mould that into what I want to achieve. For me, it has been more about who I’ve worked with closely.  

How would you describe your leadership style?

A bit of a coaching style. I believe in leading from the front as well as supporting from behind. I spend a lot of time on the business case and strategies to identify where we’re going and then trying to put our team in front of our clients and initiatives that we’re pursuing and supporting them in what we want to achieve.  

What do you get a kick out of in your current role?

Opportunity is what gets me jumping out of bed in the morning. For me, every day is an opportunity to innovate with my teams, to collaborate and co-create solutions with our amazing Waikato and Bay of Plenty clients. The opportunity to deliver lasting community benefit for our region.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years’ time?

Over the next five to 10 years, I hope to remain meaningfully involved with our people and clients to create change. I hope to have created strong and productive environments that continue to challenge expected corporate behaviours- to have established a unique 'brand' of consulting that sets my teams apart from the rest.

Over time, I see myself working on more strategic projects and less at a grassroots level. In doing so, it will raise a challenge for me, maintaining authentic relationships and keep achieving great outcomes with great people but in less of a 'boots and all” style. Ultimately, the best measure of success is what my clients are saying. If I'm receiving the same kind of feedback from my clients that I did for this award, "you are a leader who walks the talk and leads by doing", that's job done for me.

Why did you get into engineering and consulting – what made you decide to study it?

My entry into engineering has been an unusual one as I don’t have a University Degree. At high school, I was introduced to Fulton Hogan’s recruitment team who had selected Howick College as a school they wanted to work with to develop talent for their teams. Fulton Hogan supported me through a Diploma in Engineering, offering me part-time work during the year that helped me fund my studies. At the end of my first year of study, I was selected to go to an interview for Project New Grad, a programme then ran by Fulton Hogan, Manukau City Council and GHD, and the rest is history. What keeps me working in engineering and consulting is the opportunity to solve complex problems and work with good people. It's the chance to develop innovative solutions and break down seemingly impossible problems – be that from a technical, stakeholder or management perspective.

What’s something interesting about yourself we probably don’t know about?

I'm a big outdoors type and I'm passionate about tramping, hunting and fishing. There are often raised eyebrows when I pull up to my local hunting “spot” in our Nissan Leaf and park up next to muddy utes, for me hunting is about conservation and sustainability more than for sport.

Meet our other 2021 Emerging Leader finalists