Six months into his time leading the 3-Waters contract in the Far North District of New Zealand, David Webb said to his manager Wendy Edwards that it had 'been a long three-months'. 

David's initial planned three-month stint leading the contract, eventually turned into twelve, finally ending in October this year with the appointment of a permanent Contract Manager. According to Wendy, however, his impact will last well beyond his departure. 

"We have an 18-year relationship with this client and David has made a significant contribution to its ongoing success during a particularly difficult last 12 months," said Wendy, who is the GM Water and Construction for New Zealand.

"If the team had their way, he would be staying but he lives in the South Island and he wants a role closer to home."

The 3-Waters contract is an alliance between Ventia and the Far North District Council delivering operations, maintenance and minor capital works for the water assets in the region. The alliance refers to the fact that the contract is delivered by a combination of Ventia staff as well as staff from the Far North District Council. 

Pictured above: David Webb and Jim Neil on site. Picture courtesy of Ian Findlay.

David's role on the 3-Waters contract 

David's role in leading the contract and the personal sacrifices he has made hasn't just caught the attention of his management. So impressed has the client been with what he has brought to the contract that they took the step of recognising him at a recent Council meeting ahead of his return home.

The sacrifice refers to the fact that David not only commuted weekly to the top of the North Island to take on the contract manager role, but also for the commitment he made to be in the north during the COVID-19 restrictions.

"David lives in the South Island, and in March he travelled to the Far North knowing that because of the risk of COVID-19 lockdown, he may not be able to get home for a number of weeks," Wendy said. 

'He made a big commitment and sacrifice, as did his family, and the Council wanted to really acknowledge that.'

It wasn't just his sacrifice in relocating that the client recognised, but also the contribution he has made to the community.  According to Wendy, as soon as he commenced in the contract manager role, David brought a focus on quality delivery and shared responsibility across the team and with the client. 

"He built an open and pragmatic working relationship with the client and they knew very quickly that they could have the confidence that if he said we would do something, that we would do it and we would do so within the timeframe we said and for what we said it would cost," Wendy said.

He is someone who is very focused on service delivery and that resonates with the team and the client.

David's time in the Northland region was also marked by a number of major weather events,  which were successfully navigated, due to the commitment of his team in delivering service to the community and in large part, due to trust that had been built between our team and the client.

These challenges included drought, floods and then the commencement of another drought. On top of all that there was the COVID-19 issue to manage.

We deliver essential services and when COVID-19 hit, David's first priority (after his family) was his team - that they were safe and would remain safe. 

"David recognised that every person in his team is dedicated to the services we deliver to the community, and he worked with them to ensure they were in position to safely ensure an ongoing water supply to the community," Wendy said.

David's ability to navigate these issues was also acknowledged by the Council when presenting him with the Progressive Council Award.

"During both of those crisis, David's experience and background has been invaluable to us," said Far North District Mayor John Carter. 

In response, David thanked the Council leadership team saying we could not do what we do for the community without their support. 

David was awarded the Progressive Council Award by the Far North District Council Mayor, John Carter

Pictured above: David was awarded the 'Progressive Council Award' by the Far North District Council Mayor, John Carter.

Whilst Dave is finally now returning home to the South Island, according to Wendy he won't be lost to the business.

"He will be picked up in another part of our business, he's too good to lose!" she said.