Every good workplace has one.
They’re that one person you know you can turn to whenever something needs to get done. They’re problem solvers. The glue that seems to hold everything together.
At the sprawling building site for Ryman Healthcare’s new Nellie Melba retirement village in Melbourne, that person is Tony Clyne.
Watching the veteran project administrator at work in his Portacom office is like watching an air-traffic controller at Heathrow. Or, to use his analogy, a train conductor.
“This is like Grand Central Station, so it’s all go – the telephone’s usually going, the radio’s usually going, I’ve got someone over here wanting me and the emails are stacking up. That’s the day.”
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If the workers on the site need new grinder blades, Tony orders them. If a delivery of bricks arrives, he checks them to make sure they match the purchase order and ensures they get to their destination. When payslips need to be processed, he makes sure everyone gets paid correctly and on time. Toilet paper running low? Tony’s your man.
“It’s just one of those jobs you’ve got to be on the ball all the time and the day just goes like that,” he says, clicking his fingers.
“Half the time I look at the clock and think, ‘Gee, it’s 2 o’clock, I might have some lunch, you know what I mean? So, the day just slips by. And I enjoy it – it keeps you on your toes.”
And Tony doesn’t just enjoy it, he’s really good at it.
So good, he was nominated as one of three finalists in the Construction Team Member of the Year category at this year’s Ryman Awards.
He was surprised when the news came through, and humbled to be recognised among such a large team of workers across the company.
“It was a surprise I must say for an old boy like me, getting nominated for anything.”
But it probably shouldn’t be a surprise at all. With 30 years as a self-employed sheep farmer in the South Island of New Zealand under his belt, Tony is used to taking challenges in his stride. Things crop up unexpectedly and you’ve just got to deal with them and get the job done.
He left the farm about 10 years ago to join Ryman. He started on the tools when the company’s Yvette Williams village was being built in Dunedin, and when the project administrator on that job left Tony stepped up into the role.
“That was a real learning curve,” he says. “That was full on.”
He can’t have done too bad a job, though, as he went on to project administration roles at five more Ryman builds on both sides of the Tasman.
Tony now trains and mentors the next generation of project administrators at Ryman, passing on the kind of wisdom that only comes with years of experience.
His most important piece of advice? Attention to detail when you approach a task can save you a lot of time and aggravation down the track.
“It’s important that you don’t make too many mistakes otherwise it comes back to bite you and of course every mistake made means more time fixing. I don’t have time to fix too many mistakes so I like to get it right the first time.”
While Tony might be training up younger project administrators, he has no plans to hang up his own clipboard any time soon. He loves the job too much.
“Every day’s different. Every day brings another challenge you know, there’s nothing surer than that.”