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Technical services and consulting solutions for clients in the property, energy, transport, water, resources, defence and government sectors.

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We define, design and manage projects that create shared value to a complex, urbanising and resource-scarce world.

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Brilliant minds finding solutions to complex problems, made easy to understand. Making complex easy.

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Serisha Pedersen: overseeing construction jobs in Perth

Serisha Pedersen, Project Manager

Serisha likens her job to an ‘inbox’ for construction initiatives – where she navigates all the incoming and outgoing elements of projects to keep them on track, so they are delivered to her clients’ high standards.

Q How did you get into project management?

I studied engineering – but during the degree I knew I wanted to do something more hands-on, and a little less behind a desk. So, I went into construction and worked on sites for five years.  

It was while being on a building site that I realised I liked many aspects of project management – the higher-level planning, working with a wide variety of stakeholders and clients, and a good mix of onsite and office work. So, I moved into project management! 

Meet Serisha

Role at RPS

Project Manager supporting construction projects in Perth, Western Australia

Project experience

A diverse range of building projects including sports infrastructure, education projects, building upgrades and more. 

Q What interests you about managing construction projects?

I like being part of something that starts from nothing - or starts from half built – and work on it right through to completion and see something tangible. It’s pretty cool to step back at the end and know you’ve contributed to the finished product. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in building things. As a kid, I was obsessed with Lego and any television program about renovations or building homes. I was this strange young kid who really liked building things!  

Q Or you could say ‘driven’! Did you also play computer games where you build things? 

Sure! I also played the video game Sims all the time. I would just build a house and move on – house after house.  

And in high school I taught myself how to use CAD, the computer-aided design software so I could draft floor plans for my dream home. So, yes driven, and a little obsessed with designing and building houses. 

To be fair, it was also part of my home life. My parents built two homes while I was a kid, so it was very much the backdrop to my childhood. 

Q Why didn’t you do architecture then?

I badly wanted to do architecture, but my mum told me engineering was the same thing. I was definitely duped! But I'm really happy where I ended up. Plus, a lot of the people I work with in project management have an architectural background, so I’d probably have ended up here anyway. 

Serisha Pedersen, RPS Project Manager, Perth, Australia

Q Tell us about the projects you are currently working on at Curtin University.

I’m working on three big projects at Curtin. One is a boiler plant room upgrade, which might not sound exciting, but it’s located in a prominent part of the university at an entrance to the main campus. So, there's a lot of focus on its aesthetic appeal and potential to become a ‘living’ laboratory for students to visit. 

It’s also quite a challenging project given where it's located. Plus, it’s not just a plant room upgrade, it's an architectural and structural piece as well. 

We’re also upgrading mechanical pipework throughout the campus. Which, like many projects on site – is challenging because, as you can imagine, you can't just go digging up a whole university campus to replace pipework.  

And the last one is a security infrastructure project across the university, which involves upgrading and installing things like cameras and emergency notification systems. It’s quite interesting because I’m learning about technology I didn't know existed! 

Q What do you think are the key skills a project manager needs?

You need to be a ‘people person’ because every day you deal with a very wide range of people and personalities. We are basically the inbox, I guess, between the client, the contractor, the consultants, and the people using the building – so for me at the moment, the staff, visitors and students at Curtin.  

There are so many individuals that you interact with, and they all have a different reason or motivation for contacting you. You need to be able to manage all of the requests, understand their perspectives, manage their personalities and keep the project moving. So, yes, you need to enjoy working with people – it really is a huge part of the job.   

You also need excellent communication skills – written and verbal. We write a lot of reports, and we also need to write and win endorsements to secure additional time or resources on projects, so being able to communicate effectively in written form is essential. We also present our ideas and speak to contractors and stakeholders every day, so verbal communication skills are equally important. 

Q Is there a dream project that you’d like to work on in the future?

I have worked on massive projects – like sports stadiums, and I’m not necessarily wanting more of that. I think something that I would like to manage is building a new university campus in the city – that would be interesting. Working in the city comes with a whole bunch of challenges that I’d like to navigate. And it’s always satisfying working on something that’s a focal point – so creating something that’s a feature of Perth would be a lot of fun. 

Desert meets the sea - an aerial view of ocean and desert sand dune beach, Broome Western Australia