At Symal, we’re recognised as a business that champions diversity and celebrates women who are changing the face of construction.
To support this mission, we’re proudly sponsoring the upcoming NAWIC Awards for Excellence which seeks out, recognises and celebrates the women who are taking the industry by storm. NAWIC is a passionate body set up to represent and empower women in construction and serves to shift the perception and understanding of what our industry can offer.
There are many women in our business who we’re proud to see in the industry and this year we have six people nominated for great awards as a result of their contributions to the industry in 2022.
Nominated for the ICON Businesswoman of the Year Award
Sandra Costanzo is the general counsel of Symal, a fully integrated infrastructure, construction, and property group with core expertise in delivering client solutions across Australia. Sandra expertly manages all legal and commercial requirements across the group’s wide range of businesses including Incore Developments, Grampians Excavations, Wamarra, Bridge and Civil, Contractors, Infrastructure, Structures, and Waste Resources and Recovery.
While closely aligned, each of these businesses has its own area of expertise and capability across property development, civil and building construction, plant hire and earthworks, quarrying, and construction waste resource recovery. Sandra is a key driver in managing the complexity and nuances of Symal’s brand portfolio by providing quality legal advice to each business, ensuring the legal interests of the group are protected.
Sandra is a valued and trusted resource, working hard to deliver on promises and respond to all inquiries with a sense of urgency, which is imperative for the dynamic and complex nature of the construction industry. With a strong commitment to quality and building solid working relationships, Sandra is a highly respected member of Symal’s executive leadership team.
Nominated for the Young Achiever Award
Alexandra Holman is an engineer at Symal who shows exceptional initiative and unparalleled attention to detail. She began her career as part of the Symal undergraduate program where she single-handedly designed and oversaw the creation of a parking area to overcome safety issues. This gave Alexandra the opportunity to work on a complex project and understand what is required of an engineer to keep a job running as safely and effectively as possible.
Alexandra has since been involved in various projects, including one where she was the only woman among more than 60 men. Undaunted, she quickly created a strong rapport with that team and contributed strongly to the project.
While at Swinburne University, which she attended on a STEM scholarship, Alexandra designed solutions for water conservation in a residential development and to avoid smoke inhalation from indoor stoves. She is passionate about the real-world applications of the designs she creates, and is motivated by the impact those designs can have on people’s lives.
Alexandra is a young leader who worked as a student teacher while at university and also held down numerous other jobs to help her gain experience and map out a future career path. She has achieved a significant amount in her career to date, and her future will be equally impressive as she draws on her considerable skills to continue to make a difference.
Nominated for the Emerging Leader Award
Lorraine Reilly is the HR manager at Symal Group. She began her career in her native Ireland before moving to Australia and working in the education industry. There, she gained experience in working with international students and helping them overcome the barriers they face when they come to learn in Australia.
Lorraine began working in the construction industry in December 2016, starting as a human resources coordinator before rising to her current role of HR manager. With the Symal Group expanding rapidly, Lorraine is excited at the opportunity to continue reinforcing the organisation’s strong values and culture, especially around Indigenous participation in the construction industry.
A regular attendee at school career days, Lorraine is passionate about educating students regarding the opportunities for exciting career paths in the construction industry. She shares information about the industry in general, and creates awareness regarding career pathways and how to enter the industry. Lorraine also spends time with students who visit Symal to learn more about the industry.
Nominated for Student, Apprentice or Trainee Award
Taryn Bitzas is the undergraduate site engineer/project administrator at Symal Group’s Wamarra business. In June 2020, Taryn commenced her work with Symal in a temporary role alongside the finance team during the financial year-end. Coming from a marketing background, she was offered a position to assist with the group rebranding project from Civilex to Symal.
At Wamarra, Taryn has worked on various complex projects. She is a self-starter who takes initiative and ensures projects are completed to the highest quality. For example, when a project manager contracted COVID-19, Taryn was the only engineer on-site for a project that was scheduled for its project defects walk.
Taryn rose to the challenge, scouring through the drawings and specifications to support her site team and subcontractors in completing their duties for the week. Working closely with the leading hand, she ensured all critical activities and key project milestones were met by attending several daily site walks, making herself a resource where needed.
Nominated for Communication Stakeholder and Media Management Award
Rebecca Somerville, communications and stakeholder engagement manager, Symal, has developed an extensive knowledge of the construction industry and its processes, techniques, and constraints through her 13+ years of industry experience. Her various roles on several large-scale projects have honed her skills in expressing construction-related content clearly and in easy-to-understand language.
Rebecca maximises opportunities to bring project value to the community; leads community and stakeholder involvement to reach the best design outcomes; communicates benefits and changes to the community to minimise impacts of construction; and performs the role of key conduit between stakeholders, the community, and the project team.
Rebecca is an advocate for women in construction and has created a women’s network within Symal, mentoring young women across all disciplines who are starting out and even those who are established in the industry. Teaching them ways to navigate a predominantly male-dominated industry, she provides advice and guidance on when to push and when to nudge, recognising the ability to work diplomatically with male colleagues and stakeholders.
Nominated for Emerging Leader Award
Julia Crockett-Grills is a surveyor within the contractors business of the Symal Group. Responsible for more than $2.5 million of work each month across 15 live job sites, Julia faces considerable pressure to work accurately and quickly to deliver optimal results for the business.
Julia is a leader of the future. She started with Symal in May 2021 with no experience as a surveyor or, indeed, within the construction industry at all. After just five months, her supervisor left, cutting her training short and leaving her with the sole responsibility of managing survey and design. Julia took this challenge in her stride, seeing it as an opportunity to grow instead of a reason to panic. She calmly figured out how to proceed and taught herself the skills needed to deliver great work for the business. Julia is resourceful and outcome-driven. This is the mark of a true leader.
Additionally, Julia is seen as an unofficial mentor and role model in the organisation, with younger engineers looking up to her. She supports and encourages these staff members, who absolutely view her as a leader in the organisation.