Powering up Northrop’s hydraulics
When it comes to hydraulic and fire consulting in Australia, few people have as many runs on the board as Simon Matthews, who joined the Northrop team in October 2018, after 24 years as a director at a building services multi-disciplinary company.
Having been in the industry for over 30 years, Simon has worked on many significant projects, and is especially proud of his hydraulic work for Health Infrastructure New South Wales.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always embraced new technologies and materials,” says Simon. “It’s vital you are at that leading edge, for your own sake as well as the projects you work on.”
Today, Simon, who has worked on major hospital projects across the country, as well as some large hotel projects in Australia and throughout south-east Asia, leads a 16-strong team of hydraulic and fire specialists at Northrop, sharing his experience to develop the team, as well as bringing in new business.
“We look after all facets of the hydraulic and fire services area – plumbing and drainage, hot water, cold water, warm water, natural gas and LPG; stormwater, downpipes, gutters, overland flow, fire hydrants, fire hose reels and fire sprinklers. And also due diligence, capex reports and expert advice/solutions for hydraulic/fire issues within complex situations.
“It might not be the stuff that catches people’s eye, but all of these elements are critically important to get right,” says Simon. “Correct and proper functioning hydraulic systems help define a modern and safe culture and environment.”
Changing your job is a big decision at the best of times. After 24 years with the same company, most of the time as a director, that task becomes even more significant.
After Simon decided it was time for a change, he chose his next move very carefully.
Searching for a dynamic organisation with a strong culture, Simon had discussions with a number of consulting firms before deciding Northrop offered him the best environment to spend the next part of his career.
“Northrop ticked all of the boxes I was looking for,” he says. “So far, it’s been exceptional. Absolutely fantastic. It’s exceeded my expectations, and my expectations were high, having had many conversations with the company.
“The enthusiasm of the people here, the go-get attitude and the support from every direction, it’s been exemplary.
“On a personal level, you can feel somewhat stationary when you’ve been at one place for so long, but I feel completely rejuvenated here - it’s fantastic.
The challenge ahead
At present, there is a focus on projects within Schools Infrastructure NSW (SINSW) portfolio and, State-funded hospitals throughout the Sydney Region and country areas of NSW.
“Clients understand that a multi-disciplined approach with the extra valve that Northrop add with structures and civil is a proven ‘value add’ to any project,” says Simon.
“This is an area of focus that has been embraced at Northrop and proven with the in-house engagement of a Project Coordinator to ensure a complete and comprehensive level of coordination is adhered to and time lines and program milestones are met.”
Looking further ahead, it comes as no surprise that, as someone who always keeps at the forefront of technology and innovation, Simon has absolute clarity on what he wants to achieve at Northrop.
“I want us to be known as the best, hydraulic and fire team within Australia, particularly down the East Coast. I aim to have a cohesive, well co-ordinated hydraulic team, within all the offices, and to be the first company that people think of when they have a project or any issues or problems.
“I want to bring all of our engineers along on that journey, use their expertise and build and grow them too, while they take ownership and responsibility.
“I also want other hydraulic and fire consultants to look at Northrop and say, ‘I want to work there.”