CEDA member profile: Arcadis




Lisa Samways,
Client Development Director, Arcadis Australia

What are Arcadis's main operations?

Arcadis Australia Pacific is a leading global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm. We work closely with private and public sector clients on major projects that shape cities and the lives of people living there. This can range from major road and rail infrastructure projects, to retail and heritage ventures as well as innovative environmental ventures including PFAS remediation and waste solutions.  
We have worked on some of the most influential projects across Australia, including the Sydney and Melbourne Metro, Western Sydney Airport, and Sydney Central Precinct renewal. Internationally, we are involved in major projects such as the Grand Paris Metro and Crossrail 1 and 2.
We also have a large focus on environmental restoration, waste management, sustainability, and ecology. Our team at Arcadis is comprised of industry leaders, who draw on local partners as well as our international experience to ensure we deliver bespoke and innovative solutions that meet our clients needs, providing our clients with the right tools and solutions to support their business endeavours.  

What do you think is unique about Arcadis?

Improving quality of life is our vision and we live this vision in everything we do. We work collaboratively with our clients to create smart, sustainable and long-lasting solutions. We support our staff to continue to grow and learn within the industry to ensure we are constantly at the forefront of solutions, making sure we are deliving the best results every time.
We draw on our identity as a global company, with over 27,000 employees, and act as a local company with an expert team and a strong client focus. We become a trusted partner for our clients – this is ultimately what makes us unique.
At Arcadis, we really live our values, our people come first, and we ensure we support them, whether that is through well-being initiatives or training tools, to actively encourage and enable them to continue to support our clients.

What are the public policy issues most of interest to you and Arcadis right now?

Being an international company, we are committed to look globally to best practice guidance in regards to our policies and laws. We promote equality and inclusion in everything we do and actively work with local and global industry bodies to achieve this. This is more than just words to us, we live it – we have strong FLEX policies to ensure everyone is given equal opportunity to work, we are also working towards completing our first RAP report. Our recent achievement of being awarded WGEA employer of choice for the third year in a row is just one tangible achievement that demonstrates our commitment to equality and inclusion.
Moving forward we are looking towards policies and regulations that will allow us to continue to be at the forefront of sustainablitity and environmental restoration. As a global leader in this space, we want to continue to set an example for other companies and communities to ensure we are minimising our negative impacts on the earth.

What is your role at Arcadis? What does a typical day look like? 

As the Client Development Director for Arcadis Australia, I oversee Client Experience, Marketing, Sales and Business Development for our business. A large part of my role is ensuring that we are pursuing the right projects with the right clients, making sure that we understand their needs and that our goals align so we can plan points to be sure we are delivering above and beyond the client’s expectations.  
My role also requires me to be hands on in meeting with clients from various sectors on a regular basis. We pride ourselves in having our clients return to us time and time again as they know us, and we know them. I act to nurture this relationship and ensure open communication between our business and our clients. Our Client Care program allows us to hear client feedback first-hand and regularly so we can continue to improve our services and meet our clients’ needs now and into the future.

As for a typical day, I am not sure that there is one. Every day is different as my role is constantly evolving depending on what is required. As a result, a high level of agility is required to perform this role.

What are your hopes and ambitions for the firm over the next five years?

My hope for Arcadis is that we continue to improve the quality of life, not only for our clients but also for our people. We want to continue to excel in sectors where we are strong, but we also want to diversify our portfolio to ensure that we are creating viable outcomes for our clients through a sustainable and varied offering.

What have been some of your professional highlights in your time at Arcadis?

One of the biggest highlights for me was taking on the role of Client Development Director, at the beginning of 2019. I started at Arcadis about 15 years ago in an engineering role and I feel as if I have grown with the business. Stepping into a leadership role where I am able to influence the company that I admire has definitely been a professional highlight for me.
Being in a position to mentor women over the years has also definitely been a highlight. I feel strongly that we should be supporting women, both within the engineering industry and across the workforce generally. Over the years I have mentored women inside and outside of the industry and it is truly a rewarding experience. I have learned so much from the young women that I have mentored, and I hope they have gained as much from the experience and fulfilment as I have. I will continue to mentor young professionals who want or need guidance in the years to come.

How have you seen the industry change in your time with Arcadis?

Technology has been a game changer for the engineering industry. Calculations and designs that would have taken weeks when I started as a structural engineer can now be done in days. This allows us to deliver many, many alternatives to the design, without huge delays to the project, so that we can work on the optimal solutions.

There is also a strong push for engineers to market what they are great at. There is so much more competition amongst professionals, including engineers, and we need to target the clients and industry bodies that we want to work with and that we know we can deliver to.

We are also considering the environment in everything we do now, which is a great change that I have seen within the industry. There was a time when engineering and the environment were at odds, however now we see a strong partnership between the two. A key step in the engineering planning process is to fully evaluate the negative impacts to the environment, and to mitigate those impacts as much as possible.

Why is Arcadis a CEDA member? 

Working collaboratively is a strong part of Arcadis’ culture and we want to extend this to everything we do. We want to be an active party when participant in shaping the future of our environments.  This requires open and honest public discussion through working with the right organisations and connecting with other key stakeholders.  We can all do our part in developing Australia and its communities.

What are the significant trends shaping your industry at the moment? 

As mentioned, the digitisation of the industry has been a huge trend that continues to shape the industry. We have already began adopting digital methods such as sensors, AR, VR drone usage and 3D scanning. These applications have the capacity to transform how we work on and build projects and have completely updated the technicalities involved in this.
Cloud computing is also becoming more integrated into functionalities of our industry, which means that we need to ensure we upskill to have a sustainable workforce for the future. We are seeing different kinds of leaders emerge - not just technical experts, but rather creative types who can collaborate and utilise these new tools to bring added value.  This skill of collaboration will become more and more important, requiring engineers to not just be technicaly skilled, but also be good listeners so that they are able to engage with clients and stakeholders to help solve complex infrastructure problems.
The move towards sustainable engineering practices has also been a huge shift for the industry in recent years. Adopting these sustainable practices is integral to playing a part in designing the smart cities of the future. Our cities will continue to change to support new modes of transport, new ways of living and new ways of working. The infrastructure we are beginning to see today must be future proofed for the technology of tomorrow. It needs to be able to adapt or be redesigned, so that it can be part of an ever-changing technological landscape.

Is there something about Arcadis that people would be surprised to learn?

Arcadis is continuously innovating to ensure that we are always one step ahead and that the needs of our clients are met. The recent launch of Arcadis Gen is just one example of how we are enabling ourselves to focus on the rapid development of scalable digital products and solutions. We are committed to working collaboratively with partners and clients to constantly create new products and solutions that will support our clients both now and into the future.