How Northrop's Katie Malvaso is helping the business respond to change

As Northrop's new structural manager in Victoria, Katie Malvaso is excited about the prospect of both influencing the state's aesthetic over the coming years – and helping Northrop grow, too. 

And, while global events, of course, provide some unforeseen challenges, Katie and the team at Northrop are focusing on what is needed to keep delivering to clients in the short, medium and longer-term.

"Even before recent events occupied everyone's mind, I was a huge believer in the fact we need to reinvent ourselves as engineers and BIM modellers to stay relevant," says Katie, who joined the Northrop team in October 2019. 

"Our traditional skill sets will remain, of course. The exciting part is the new skills we can bring to the industry like programming, data analytics and digital engineering. A lot of tasks and processes are going to be automated, and staying up to date with the digital aspect of project delivery is essential in order to craft our future roles. It's a big challenge for the industry." 

Katie says that, while recent events have pushed automation and online work to the forefront of every business's mind, the team at Northrop had already made significant strides in this area.

"There's already a lot of opportunity for automation in our day-to-day deliverables that will allow the focus to be put on solving the more complex problems. Builders are now using our models to do quantity takeoffs and programming and as such more partnerships will form and sharing of information more fluid. 

"Models are not just for documentation purposes, it's more than lines on a drawing. The models are coming to life, especially around how the information in the model gets used in the whole life cycle of the building from conception to completion and then in asset management once the building's been handed over. Digital ties this all together."  

And this forward-thinking was just one of the aspects that appealed to Katie when looking for her next career step.

"Another aspect was Northrop's investment in developing people to achieve their full potential, building longstanding client relationships and helping clients to realise their potential too," she says Katie. 

"We work with a range of clients in the commercial, residential, education, corrections and aged care sectors amongst many more. There's such a variety of work to get involved with; that was a big drawcard."

Katie, who oversees the delivery of our structural projects from both a commercial and project perspective, manages a team of 14 engineers and drafters, is looking beyond the current crisis.

"There's a huge opportunity to push the boundaries, to integrate sustainable structural solutions into everyday project delivery, to be smarter in terms of being aware of our carbon footprint and how we can build smarter and digital buildings." 

After six months at Northrop, Katie believes she's made a great decision to take on her new role, both from a personal and professional perspective. 

"A big attraction overall was the culture and the vision of the business. I was looking for a really inclusive team" says Katie. 

"I had a sense that the team was agile, and the business was flexible, adaptive, and outcome-focused, and this has come into its own over the past few weeks.

"We've really been able to adapt to the current situation, using our technology to fully mobilise our team servicing all of our clients. 

"It's been a rather unpredictable six months, but the way the business and the team has adapted to those changes while keeping our clients at the forefront has been hugely impressive. I knew I'd made the right decision to join Northrop anyway, but the past month has confirmed to me that I have!"

For more information, you can contact Katie at

Associate, Melbourne Structural Manager, Senior Structural Engineer
Katie Malvaso

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