A number of recent publications (Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Engineering E2E and NZ Herald) focus on flexible working practices within small businesses and how Abley in particular has embraced this. While this is not a deliberate strategy, it has come about because Steve Abley and fellow director Paul Durdin, who all have young families, understand the need for flexible working arrangements. This allows staff to accommodate their families and outside interests. This understanding attitude has paid off. In an industry where good talent is highly sought after, Abley has exceptionally high retention rates among staff. In addition, Abley has a very even gender split, which is unusual for an engineering company. Almost every woman who has taken maternity leave, has returned in at least a part time role.
Today is National go by bike day and Abley staff rose to the challenge and travelled by bike to work. Not that riding your bike to work is anything unusal for Abley staff, with over half the staff being regular commuters by bike. Today however, that number rose to just under 80% of staff from our two offices. There were five breakfast snack stations around Christchurch so staff were able to grab a bite and pick up some cycle accessories along the way. Courtney and Shruti at our Auckland office made a detour on their way to work to grab a bite via the new Nelson Street Cycleway, Te Ara I Whiti – the lightpath for cyclists and pedestrians.
It has been a busy month here at Abley with two more employees joining the team. Ross Rutherford (left) has joined our Auckland office. He is a Chartered Engineer with more than 40 years’ experience gained in the Europe, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand. He currently presents the urban transport planning lectures which form part of the Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree course at Unitec. He previously worked at Auckland City Council where he established a new transport planning function within the Council. Key projects included the identification of the rapid transit corridors and appropriate public transport technologies, the light rail rapid transit investigation, several major road corridor studies, policy development and traffic management plans.
We are pleased to announce that Abley has two new staff members, Phillip Smith and Faisal Abbas. Phillip (left) joins the company as a Principal GIS Consultant. He has a wealth of theoretical, management and advisory expertise in the use of spatial data for business benefit, which he gained in academia, government and the private sector across New Zealand, UK and the Middle East.
Lake Tekapo has a new footbridge between the Village Centre and the Church of the Good Shepherd. The footbridge was officially opened on 22 November 2015 and has been experiencing high levels of use as witnessed by an Abley staff member over the summer break. Abley assisted Mackenzie District Council with securing National Land Transport Funding from the NZ Transport Agency. Abley prepared an indicative business case for the bridge including assessment against the NZ Transport Agency’s Strategic Fit and Efficiency criteria and benefit and cost appraisal. The bridge provides a much safer crossing point for tourists than the existing State Highway bridge and connects Lake Tekapo’s key destinations. The bridge also provides a great spot to take photos of Lake Tekapo’s iconic Church of the Good Shepherd.
The 19th of November was an extra special night for Interpret and Abley as we were fortunate enough to receive six awards at the NZ Spatial Excellence Awards held at Te Papa in Wellington. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to embark on projects and problems for clients that test our geospatial capabilities, and an absolute thrill to be recognised by the GIS community for the results we are getting. We are so pleased to be able to share our success with our valued clients and continue to show that we have the skills and people to get challenging work completed to a consistently high standard.
We are delighted to announce that five of our staff had abstracts accepted for the IPENZ Transportation Group Conference being held in Auckland 7 – 9 March 2016. The successful staff are Carl O’ Neil for “Quantifying the likelihood of Barrier Strike Maintenance”, Courtney Groundwater for “New Plymouth Model Community Evaluation”, Hamish Kingsbury for “Incorporating Road Safety into Vehicle Routing”, Haris Zia for “ Enhanced Speed Management Framework” and Jeanette Ward for “Road Space (Re)Allocation – The Constant Dilemma”. Congratulations to these staff.