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AfPA Member Profile: David McPadden – Ventia

David McPadden, Ventia
David McPadden, Ventia
David McPadden, Ventia Group Executive, Transport.

David McPadden, Ventia Group Executive, Transport, shares some insights from his experience in the industry with Roads & Infrastructure.

How long has Ventia been an AfPA member and why did you decide to become one?

Ventia, one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest essential infrastructure services businesses, has been a member with AfPA since 2019. Associations like AfPA are important for us to keep abreast of industry trends, allow our people to upskill and network, and keep us connected with our clients.

How did you start your career in the road transport operations industry?

I’ve been fortunate to have a career that has spanned a diverse range of major transport infrastructure (road and rail), renewable energy and complex brownfield aviation projects.

My very first role in construction was at BMD back in the mid-1990’s where I was a Project and Construction Manager. Prior to my roles at Ventia, I was Executive General Manager for WBHO Infrastructure, and had the responsibility for the restructure and growth of the business. I’ve also held a variety of senior operational management and project director roles.

What is your current role and what does it involve?

I joined Ventia in 2020 as General Manager – Road Transport Operations (Australia). This year, I was fortunate to move into the role of Group Executive – Transport and now head up Ventia’s Transport sector. We provide maintenance, project delivery, technology solutions and minor capital works to owners and operators of road, motorway, tunnel and rail networks across Australia and New Zealand. At Ventia, our strategy is to redefine service excellence by being client focused sustainable and innovative, so my role is really to bring that to life in our Transport sector.

What is the best thing about your current role?

We’ve got some amazing apprentices coming through the ranks who I hope we can foster and grow into our next leaders. We’ve also been incredibly fortunate to have several CareerSeekers interns join our team over 12-week internships. CareerSeekers is a non-profit organisation that provides preparation and support to both refugees and people seeking asylum who are either currently studying at university, or looking to restart their professional career in Australia. I was thrilled that we were able to recently offer a full-time role to one of our talented interns, Nashwan, one of our Sydney road transport projects. In this industry, we also have an important role to attract and retain women. Ventia is firmly committed to creating career opportunities for women and driving equal opportunities as we seek 40 per cent representation across our business.

What is your biggest achievement in the industry?

One of my proudest moments at Ventia has been the way our team helps our communities, following major incidents or natural disasters, ensuring road and transport networks are back up and running as quickly as possible. The recent floods across the East Coast of Australia are a great example of this.

What is a recent change you have seen in the industry and how are you/the company prepared for that?

We’re seeing a real shift towards sustainability across the industry. The impact that transport infrastructure has on the environment and climate change is here and we’re seeing our clients, partners and government looking to service providers like Ventia to help with that journey and transition. In the past year, we have also started transitioning our fleet to hybrid and electric and our Transport sector has been leading the way. In the past 12 months, we have introduced Victorian road operation’s first EV truck; two Teslas in Sydney which are fully recharged by power generated by solar panels on the roof of our facility; one of New Zealand’s first hybrid excavators and one of Australia’s first hydrogen vehicles. There is more to be done but we are making great strides to support our clients and their customers on their sustainability journey.

What do you think is most interesting about the road transport operations industry?

As EV adoption grows across Australia and New Zealand, the associated vehicle charging infrastructure will become a growing need. For builders of roads, this will need to be factored in design, and for service providers like Ventia, how these will be maintained. If we look further to the future, according to McKinsey, by 2035, 15 per cent of light vehicles sold are expected to be fully autonomous. What does this mean? Driving precision is anticipated to increase dramatically, and therefore we could see major changes in road construction such as lanes that are much narrower.

What are your goals for the future?

The market outlook is extremely positive that will present Ventia with significant opportunities for further growth. My team and I are committed to ensuring Ventia remains the market leader in our industry by redefining service excellence, fostering a culture people want to come work for and see strong career paths, and continue to drive safe and sustainable solutions for our clients and their customers.



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