The unconventional engineer – with Chad Williams

Chad Williams didn't embark on a career in engineering the conventional way. He started on the tools and proved he's a natural leader and engineer. Find out more about Chad's journey into engineering, his ACE New Zealand Regional Chair role and what makes him tick.  

Chad Williams

Tell us how you got into the engineering industry?  

I come from a “hands-on” family. My Dad was a butcher, my sister is a farmer and my brother is a builder. I always figured I’d be in a similar position once I got a job.  

Once I finished high school at Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth, I worked as a labourer for Fulton Hogan. Pretty quickly, they saw something in me that they liked and they encouraged me to study for a civil construction apprenticeship. It took me two years to complete while working and juggling all the things that come with being a young lad!   

Not long after completing the apprenticeship, my managers at Fulton Hogan urged me to complete a Diploma in Civil, and I've never looked back.  

Fast forward nine years, and I'm now a Civil Engineer for Beca 

You're young, tell us how you've achieved so much in such a short space of time?  

Determination and hard work. I actually don't enjoy studying, but you just have to suck it up and get it done.  

A strong work ethic was instilled in me from a young age, seeing how hard my family worked.  

I think the other key thing is having good relationships with people. People are what make the world go round, so keeping a really good network of people and contacts around me has gotten me to where I am today.  

Chad playing the guitar at a wedding

Where do you see yourself in ten years?  

My passion is people. I enjoy leading a team of people to achieve great things. I'm working towards a more leadership type of role in the future. I am enjoying working with the graduate consultants and engineers coming through Beca. To see them improve and enhance their professional skills gives me a real kick.  

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

It gives me great leadership experience, plus it's a great chance to develop and promote the mighty Taranaki in the consulting and engineering fields! I get to meet with local consultants and talk to them about some of the issues they may be having. I'm then able to take it to the ACE New Zealand board and Chief Executive to discuss.  

It generates the confidence to have discussions with people at a more senior level that I wouldn't usually get otherwise at this stage in my career.  

In between work and study, what else do you get up to?  

Well, I am studying again! I'm now working towards a graduate diploma in project management. I've put this on hold temporarily as my wife is pregnant with our second child, due in January. I want to be available for her and the kids.  

I'm a self-taught musician - I sing, play guitar, drums, keys - I've been in a lot of bands over the years. At the moment I'm in a band but we try not to practice too much, only when we've got a gig lined up. I try and make it to a lot of live gigs. I love  Tool, Wolfmother, Queens of the Stone Age, Rolling Stones, and ACDC. 

Connect with Chad Williams on LinkedIn