Karlie Collis joins Northrop’s Board of Directors
Newly-appointed board member Karlie Collis is a Northrop principal who’s been with the company for almost 15 years, and joins the board with a keen determination to continue to build on the qualities that make Northrop a special place to work.
In one sense, Karlie’s appointment marks the culmination of a 15-year journey from graduate to board member. In another, however, it signals the start of a new chapter, in which she intends to help build and grow both the company and its people.
Karlie joined Northrop in 2004, after graduating with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Newcastle. In the decade and a half that’s followed, Karlie has enjoyed a motivating and rewarding career, becoming a Northrop associate in 2012 and a principal (owner of the business) in 2018.
This appointment recognises the significant contribution Karlie has made within Northrop and more broadly.
Among her many achievements, Karlie has built solid client relationships at Northrop and delivered world-class projects including multi-storey apartment buildings, commercial premises, architectural houses and heritage structures. She has also developed our modular and off-site construction capabilities, putting Northrop at the forefront of modular school design.
Passionate about furthering engineering in Australia, Karlie is a past Engineers Australia Division President and chair of Engineers Australia’s National Structural College Board since 2015. During this time, Karlie delivered two successful Australasian Structural Engineering Conferences in Brisbane and Adelaide – promoting the sharing of ideas nationally and internationally.
Encouraging the next generation of engineers, Karlie is also the chair of the University of Newcastle’s Civil Engineering Course Advisory Board, mentor, guest lecturer and regular contributor to STEM events in schools.
Where opportunities abound
“Looking back, I could not have imagined how lucky I was to start my career with Northrop all those years ago. The opportunities have been endless, and the variety of work – and therefore the skills I learned – have been outstanding.”
“I have worked on steel sculptures with artists, in 10-metre excavations with contractors, and stood on the top of seven-storey buildings at sunrise while concreters are pumping concrete.”
“The biggest pleasure, however, has been working with my Northrop family.”
“I have been supported, challenged and cared for by the people around me. Their support throughout my career and especially when I became a single mother and required more flexibility, was critical to my success.”
“One of the best parts about this stage of my career is watching and helping more junior people develop and thrive. We have some fantastic people who will continue to build a strong future for Northrop, and part of my role now is to help them to do just that.”
The challenges ahead
The next chapter of Karlie’s Northrop career is to take a seat at the boardroom table, and she’s looking forward to the challenges that will bring.
“Northrop has a history of strong and inspiring directors who have steered the business with steady hands, she says.
“It’s an honour for me to follow in their footsteps, but also to bring my own experience and skills to the table.”
When evaluating what a successful tenure at a board level will look like, Karlie identifies building on Northrop’s strong financial base and protecting the unique company culture as key. She also highlights the need to continue to foster the entrepreneurial spirit that has made Northrop so strong.
“I am passionate about encouraging diversity within Northrop and ensuring that opportunities are available for all of our people.
“I’m keenly aware that I am providing a reference for young women coming through Northrop. It is very hard to be what you can’t see. I love the fact that our women can see opportunities for themselves in every part of our company.”