A 12-month adventure in Australia turned out to be a lifechanging decision for Helen Browne.
Seven years on, the Irish-born civil engineer is an Australian citizen living in Sydney and carving out a career working on some of New South Wales’ biggest rail projects.
“Life has an extraordinary way of pulling you in unexpected directions,” she says.
“It was my love of travel and seeing new places that led me ‘down under’.
“When I arrived, I backpacked around Australia and even did some farm work for three months in the outback. I enjoyed it, but after that, I was ready for the bright lights of Sydney.”
These days, Helen is playing a key role in progressing Sydney’s infrastructure development.
After joining Aurecon to work with the telecommunications team, she quickly realised infrastructure was ‘where all the fun was at‘ and transitioned to projects in 2014.
Her early project management roles on the Wickham Transport Interchange Project in New South Wales confirmed that the new direction was the right choice for her, and she hasn’t looked back.
Since then, Helen has taken on bigger, more challenging projects as she has built her reputation for delivery within the rail industry.
She is now Aurecon’s project manager on Sydney Metro’s Sydenham Metro Upgrade Project, where she is overseeing the remodelling of the existing station and junction to connect the Metro to the southwest corridor.
It’s a complex task that includes the design and project management for many of the technical elements of the project, including track upgrades, platform works, new buildings and water infrastructure works.
Importantly, she is also overseeing how the project will create new connections between the Metro and other modes of transport.
It is a busy, demanding role and Helen wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love the versatility, I’m never bored, and I’m always kept on my toes,” she says.
“There are so many elements to a rail project, often with many stakeholders, performance requirements, constraints and a tight delivery program.
“It is also so rewarding to see it all come together successfully to achieve the delivery milestones.”
Aurecon is delivering the Sydenham Metro Upgrade Project in partnership with GHD for the construction joint venture between John Holland and Laing O’Rourke.
Helen says overseeing the joint venture design team requires strong collaboration between these leading organisations in the industry, which has been a real highlight of the project.
“I get to work with some pretty incredible people from all corners of the world,” she says.