General Manager Greg Tupicoff, provides his insights on his best career advice, lessons learnt and the future of the Gold Coast.
First job and where are you now?
I finished studying Urban and Regional Planning at University in the late 1990’s and there was only a trickle of jobs anywhere in South East Queensland for Town Planners. So my first job was working as a labourer in a steel fabrication workshop, but my first job as a Town Planner was in Darwin working for a private consultancy business doing some really cool projects – subdivision design, residential towers, preparing expert evidence and government work. I am now General Manager of Alder Developments, a mid-size development business based in SEQ and getting involved in a wide range of great (challenging) projects for a really wide range of customers.
Best business advice you’ve received?
I have been given so much advice, from so many great leaders – Guy Gibson, June D’Rozario, Natalie Jones, Paul Eagles, Rob Moore and my current boss Greg Alder. Best short phrase business advice is “the customer is always right”. It does not mean they get things for free, but at least we should talk to, and work with, a customer to give them what they need. The best general advice is to be technically as good as possible, and all my mangers have pushed me to be technically the best at what I do.
What you wish you knew when you first started out?
Making mistakes is part of the job and if I am not prepared to make a mistake and learn from it, then I am already going to fail. Early in my career I had been afraid of failing at any task. I wish I knew failing was normal and that getting on with it is more important than avoiding the perceived shame of failure.
Your golden rule in business?
Honesty is the best policy. Being honest allows me to walk through life, proud of my effort at work. It think this golden rule helps carry my reputation as a respected town planner or developer.
A long lunch – a waste of time or essential?
You’ve got to have a reason for a long (work) lunch – I always have an objective, whether it be gather information or to discuss a business opportunity. If there is no objective or the other people at the lunch offer you no personal or business improvement opportunity, then you should get back to work. So yes they are essential, in moderation and only on the basis of having the right reason. A boozy lunch with no purpose has no place in work time.
Who is in your business mobile’s speed dial?
My boss, Greg Alder. It’s valuable to bounce ideas around before executing, and sometimes it’s simply to seek reassurance from someone I admire. Others are current or upcoming clients – customer service is key in our industry.
If you had $1 million spare what industry would you be investing in now?
Sports facilities, especially micro facilities and commercial sport opportunity – there is a boom in gyms, sports clubs, participation (female sport is exploding with interest) and the existing sports are solidifying. I look around at Saturday sports and there is heaps of opportunity for commercial development on the edge of parks, in parks, let alone the opportunity for new stadiums, multi-purpose halls etc. Plus I love sport, I would watch any elite sport.
Honestly I fail to see why big shopping centres and golf course club houses have not joined facilities – sport is the next booming industry at the micro level.
What should primary students be studying?
Everything. We need every job covered, no matter how technical, so we should encourage students to study a huge range of subjects. For our industry, we need more technical specialists like engineers and town planners or surveyors who can solve the challenges in development of what land is available.
Biggest frustration doing business on the Gold Coast and how to fix it?
The Development and construction business in Queensland has become more and more complex and on the Gold Coast it is exacerbated by the huge diversity of development types built so close to each other – it really is a tight knit city. We have development varied between big skyscraping towers and small detached houses to the various natural (beach/hinterland) and man made (theme parks, dining streets) entertainment precincts and a whole range of socio-economic lifestyle interacting closely – Gold Coast is a finely balanced melting pot of economic progress.
The frustration really is the volume of red tape to keep a business going. It has been proven over and over again the more the public and business say we want to get rid of red tape, the more it appears – thicker, wider and more sticky than before. The real fix will come when the economy and growth gets so bad it affects the lives of most people and real red tape change occurs. I can’t see this happening for at least a decade or more, because the Gold Coast is a high growth city – otherwise I have no single fix or solution, I am but a small man doing my very best in the Development and Construction industry.