Cathy Giblin: On the road less travelled

Who is Cathy Giblin? What do you do? And where did it all begin?

My life reads a little like the line “the road less travelled by” – from Robert Frost’s famous poem The Road Not Taken (1916) – where the grassy path seemed more appealing than the straight neatly cobbled one! I never thought I would enjoy a career in construction materials – or for that matter that this industry existed and had so much to offer!

I am part of the small team at the Quarry Service Centre (QSC) for Boral South Australia. This position involves role sharing, allocating, scheduling and sales dispatch for all internal and external quarry material deliveries in metropolitan SA. It is not where I thought I would find my career.

I spent my early career having an amazing equestrian adventure, traipsing through parts of Australia and New Zealand’s North Island, training, riding and teaching young students. As I spent most of my days in bushland or rural settings, I found myself developing a deep interest in the environment that led to my decision to study as a mature age student and forge a new career.

{{quote-A:R-W:300-Q:"I believe this industry provides a platform beyond its landscape for emerging social change, personal development and forging lifelong relationships"}}In 2010, I completed a Bachelor of Environmental Sciences (Freshwater Biology and Management), and in 2011 graduated with Honours in Sustainable Environments.

After graduation, I started in a casual administration role at Hanson Construction and Building Materials, where for the first time I experienced the “alien” language of the construction materials industry. My career from that moment took an about-face when I asked the transport manager about driving a truck – and next thing I knew, I was whipping around metro SA in a Mack tandem, delivering concrete!

While in my driving role, I was relieving at the Hanson White Rock weighbridge, providing the springboard for my next role as a full-time weighbridge operator at Boral Salisbury. I spent about two years enjoying my time as a weighbridge operator and even took the opportunity to be the enterprise agreement representative for my site.

In 2014 Boral restructured and centralised its booking and dispatch systems, so I was approached to join the QSC team and moved into head office to my current role in the QSC.

What is the biggest challenge in your career to date?

There have been so many great challenges. Certainly my current role challenges my lateral thinking and provides a different learning experience in a high pressure environment. Apart from that, I feel my biggest challenge is to find my “forever place” in the industry. I realised quickly that I enjoy many aspects of this industry and I want to use some of my “previous life” knowledge and blend it with my experiences in this industry to forge a place that fits with me.

What opportunities have you had in this industry that you wouldn’t have had elsewhere?

I believe this industry provides a platform beyond its landscape for emerging social change, personal development and forging lifelong relationships. The opportunities this industry has provided have changed my whole life – it sounds dramatic but it’s true! I met my partner in this industry and we’ve bought a hobby farm together and are getting married in six months.

Professionally, the opportunity to be supported into the role of SA WIQ co-ordinator has to be the highlight. I meet some incredible people and am exposed to situations that I don’t believe I would otherwise have the chance to experience.
What does the WIQ mean to you?

WIQ means evolution – for the industry and me – and for me encourages real, sustainable transformation. As SA co-ordinator, I can grow as a person and learn from truly inspiring people. It’s also about forging relationships with likeminded industry members. I think the WIQ’s future is fluid and will grow and change with industry requirements. I’m excited to see where we go next.

Outside of work, what keeps you smiling?

Our little hobby farm is my passion. Most weekends are spent renovating, planting trees or spoiling my ex-race horse Tiger. The outdoors is still my Zen place; I try to get away when time permits. I am super excited that we are off for a four-wheel drive adventure to Kakadu National Park for our honeymoon early next year!

What does the future hold for Cathy Giblin?

My immediate future holds all things wedding plans! Professionally I wish to cultivate “my brand” within the industry and evolve with the IQA and WIQ. I am really looking forward to this journey and where the “road less travelled” takes me.

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