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Laurie Corbett

Senior Project Manager – Property

Imagine spending seven years on one project! Laurie, a Senior Project Manager in our Property team, did just that. Learn about the many projects she has worked on and the interesting place she called home for five years before working at the airport.

What does a day in the life of a Senior Property Project Manager look like? I work alongside many other teams in our business - starting with the Property Development team from project inception, then design consultants through the concept, planning and design stages.

The Sustainability and Planning team assists with consents and the Procurement team engages designers and contractors. Once construction starts, I spend time on site keeping an eye on progress and quality. When a project is completed, we hand it over to the Asset Management and Property Management teams, though remain involved for the first year of operation.

This results in a lot of meetings and a lot of ‘wardrobe changes’ - when there are projects in construction on site, clearly high heels and a pretty dress aren’t the right thing for an emergency site visit when you need to climb up scaffolding!

What do you love most about your job? The variety. Our commercial property portfolio has a wide variety of tenants and buildings. Though they may look similar from the outside, our tenants have different requirements, so we need to ensure we deliver what is best for both them and us. It can sometimes be challenging but is so rewarding at the end of the day. We’re lucky that in project management roles we’re able to influence positive outcomes that can clearly demonstrate our company values.

What’s been your favourite project so far at Christchurch Airport? I’m torn, there are several challenging projects I can think of.  It’s unusual for us to work on only one project for an extended period, so the seven years on the terminal development project is certainly memorable. Not just for what we achieved at the end of the project, but the journey along the way and the vast number of people involved.

How did you get into a career in project management? Not through careful career planning that’s for sure! I just fell into it. I started out working for an architect as an office manager and then just got further and further into construction.

Most exciting moment on the job? Standing by a digger convincing an errant contractor that digging up the Spitfire Square car park wasn’t the best idea he ever had.

Most memorable Christchurch Airport experience? The February 2011 earthquake. I thought I was having a ‘turn’ as I was having trouble standing and the asphalt around me seemed to look like waves.

Our Christchurch Airport team and the wider airport campus team came together to support one another, as well as anyone who walked in our doors. So proud.

Tell us one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you? I lived in Papua New Guinea for five years.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working? I love to travel around NZ and overseas, having two grown children who live overseas helps this. I’m not much of an active relaxer, but I do a bit of charity work and I enjoy walking and hanging out with friends (even better if it’s at a winery…).

Where’s your home town and what’s its best-kept secret? New Plymouth. I confess when I ‘escaped’ at 18 I didn’t think it had anything going for it, but now I have matured, and I think New Plymouth has too. There are some great walks along the coast and up in the hills, and the TSB Bowl of Brooklands is a great place for a concert.

Where’s your favourite winter escape? It needs to have palm trees and sand. I was luckily enough to sneak in a getaway to Rarotonga just before the borders closed again… I love the place.