EMPLOYEE STORIES – EWAN MARSHALL
When field worker Ewan Marshall requested Active supply him an iPad back in 2011, he knew this nifty piece of technology had the potential to change his day-to-day operations in tree management. Little did he know it would also change his career path within the company.
At the time the Scotsman was steadily progressing up the ranks at Active after joining his brother and the Sydney commercial crew in 2004. He’d enjoyed stints as a climber, EWP operator, chipper, small truck driver and then supervisor before taking on an area manager role in Western Sydney.
The varied scope of the commercial contract allowed him access to some of Sydney’s finest vistas, taking him from the Harbour Bridge to military sites, private waterfront properties, along rail corridors and into Hyde Park.
It was an “amazing” outdoors role for a former Edinburgh IT professional who had first explored Australia as a backpacker and made the major decision to resettle in Oz. He loved the camaraderie, the different daily activities and the challenge of handling increasingly complex roles.
And then came the iPad.
“I was the first person in Active to get a tablet” he reflects. “I could see the huge advantages it would offer me in the field. Instead of carrying a laptop, I used it for emails and then to make maps and draw them for the team.”
At the time Active was undertaking a remarkably similar task but on a much larger scale, rolling out Version 4 of the game-changing infield mobile system.
Developed in house around 10 years ago, the system utilises the latest geospatial mapping and incorporates layer upon layer of information accessed in real time. It’s a hugely innovative piece of technology that’s allowed Active to streamline operations and virtually eliminate paperwork.
Ewan’s simple request and previous experience saw him tapped to join the 10-strong IT and Development team based in Waterloo, Sydney.
When he made the shift they were rolling out the system Australia-wide. Like others with both field and IT experience, part of his role was to assist employees with the change from paper to computer. It was a challenging juggle of meeting business expectations while also keeping things simple for the guys in the field.
Now almost five years later Active’s infield mobile system is in its fifth revision, with Version 6 in the planning.
“We’re constantly updating and the process is really strong,” Ewan notes.
But it’s not without its challenges. Each day 350 crews depend on the accuracy, stability and reliability of a system which has seen Active acclaimed in the tree management industry.
Ewan’s day-to-day job involves building maps, designing workflow, testing, follow ups and checking data as part of a team of talented IT individuals. It starts around 7.40am and finishes after 5.30pm. The weekends are reserved for spending time with his wife and 9-year-old son. It’s also the opportunity to indulge his other passions; photography and skateboarding.
Whether it’s a work or on the half-pipe, the past 13 years have been a wild ride for the Scotsman, and he’s genuinely appreciative of the opportunities afforded at Active.
“A lot of people I’ve worked with have progressed through a number of positions,” he explains. “This is a company that’s very good at identifying people’s potential in the field and seeing just how far they can go.”