Chris Murray Building Better Communities in Regional QLD
Posted by: mwestby December 8, 2020
Chris Murray is often commended by clients, stakeholders and local residents. Chris joined Abergeldie in 2015 as a Foreman in our Rehabilitation team and has since ascended to Contracts Supervisor. Nearly six (6) years later, he has become well known for his continuous effort to building better communities across Regional Queensland both through delivering works and helping local residents. We spoke to Chris about his approach to community engagement and management and working in Regional Queensland.
“I treat others like I would like to be treated”
It was clear from inception that Chris exhibits excellent interpersonal skills. His calm demeanour works to provide clients and the community confidence in his ability to get the job done – and well. He simply says, ‘I just make sure I speak to them the way I want to be spoken to.’ This approach to take a step back and engage with clients as well as residents with utmost respect and understanding is clearly working. ‘You have to imagine’ he says, ‘that we aren’t called when everything is going alright, we are called when a problem needs to be fixed and so some discontentment is to be expected’. Chris explains that ‘always allow them to tell you the problem, even if they are upset. Then, if you are honest about what is happening, tell them in detail how you are going to fix the problem and make them gain confidence in you, then you’ve done your job.’
You can read more about our stakeholder and community engagement here.
It’s About the (not so) Small Things
‘It’s also about the small things’ Chris says. Most of the time, our Rehabilitation crews will need to access residents’ backyards. Part of the scope sometimes requires our crews to dig up their yard to deliver the works, which is understandably inconvenient. This is when Chris is known to take an ‘extra mile’ approach to ensure the residents are confident in Abergeldie delivering the job. Here are some examples from this year:
While Chris and his crew were working in a backyard, they noticed that the resident required a wheelchair and had built himself a ramp made out of rocks and a rug to access his property. Seeing this, Chris went and purchased steel and built the resident a new ramp – one that would ensure better access.
On another occasion, Chris and the crew were required to dig up a resident’s backyard. This time, Chris noticed that his clothing line was in the middle of his yard decreasing overall space. He called the resident straight away wondering if he at all wanted to move the clothing line to a more appropriate location. Ecstatic, the resident immediately accepted. Upon completion of the project, the resident emailed Abergeldie saying:
“I have been away with my employment and was notified of the work to be carried out by Chris Murray from Abergeldie. He kept me informed throughout the excavation and made sure I was aware of all that was happening in my absence. I returned last night to find the yard returned to a better state than I had left it. Could you please pass my regards on to Chris and his team as it’s well deserved. It is not often that a contractor has so much pride in their work.
Working in Regional Areas
Chris has travelled across Regional Queensland rehabilitating network assets and has become the ‘regional’ go-to. His experience working with small communities and local councils is invaluable because of his ability to communicate and meet expectations while getting the job done. When asked about some of his more memorable projects, he responds Cherbourg and Cunnamulla.
Abergeldie were engaged to carry out work as part of a broader sewer relining program being coordinated by Fraser Coast Regional Council for the six councils of the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils, of which Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council is a member. The sewer rehabilitation works involved a variety of upgrades to different components of the sewer network in the community of Cherbourg.
Cherbourg, an Aboriginal community town 170 km north-west of Brisbane, is on the Barambah Creek. It is located in Wakka Wakka tribal boundaries, near the border of Gubbi Gubbi territory.
Recognising the importance of cultural heritage to the local indigenous community was of utmost importance. The works required our crews to work on Aboriginal grounds and in doing so there were certain traditions to follow. Abergeldie employed five (5) locals to be part of their crew, who assisted in communicating with residents affected by the works. Chris was at the forefront of managing client expectations and the local community, making sure that the works were delivered as seamless as possible. Chris says ‘the way they welcomed us to their town was great. It was a greater feeling knowing that we were helping rehabilitating their sewer network.’ Chris and the crew worked collaboratively with the whole community ensure that the project was delivered to a high standard and quality.
Abergeldie was engaged by Paroo Council to deliver sewer main and rehabilitation in Cunnamulla to improve the reliability and efficiency of the town’s wastewater network (sewerage) and extend its service life. Read more here.
Cunnamulla, a town of approximately 900 residents, wanted to increase tourism. Chris recalls this being a particularly memorable project because Abergeldie and the whole crew became integrated into the town’s community. The project went on for approximately eight (8) months and during this time they were able to boost the economy simply by staying in the town.
View one of Paroo Council’s press releases via this link.
Chris Murray continues to impress as he travels around Queensland delivering rehabilitation works for Abergeldie. He is commended for his efforts, as well as his unfaltering positive attitude to ensure he gets the job done to the benefit of all parties, clients, stakeholders and local residents.