Connecting people and projects

Mandi Davidson, National Lead - Communications and Engagement

Mandi Davidson, RPS National Lead, Communications and Engagement stands outside and in front of yellow steps at the new Sunshine Train Station in Melbourne.

With over 20 years’ experience across both government and the private sector, Mandi Davidson is the national lead and driving force behind our Australian communications and engagement team. We sat down with Mandi to talk about regional infrastructure, project problem-solving, and future-proofing Victoria’s energy future.

QTell us about your role – what does a typical day at work involve?

I’m the National Lead for Communications and Engagement and believe me when I say there’s no typical day in the life for me! I’m currently working on six or seven different projects, so every day is different. One day I could be working on strategy, the next I could be facilitating a community workshop, sitting in on client meetings, or attending pop-ups and community information sessions (mostly online right now, but face-to-face when we can). I also spend a lot of time in meetings with stakeholders, like council and economic development agencies. So, my days can really be all over the place!

Quick Q&A

Favourite Melbourne coffee spot?

The Granary Café in Sunshine

How long have you lived in Melbourne?

All my life except for six years when I lived in Cobram on the Murray River.

Favourite place to spend time in Victoria?

Anywhere that my extended family are. 

Favourite local band?

I’ve got a daughter, so at the moment my Spotify’s full of nothing but Disney songs unfortunately!

QYou’re at the forefront of many of Victoria’s most exciting sustainable energy initiatives. Tell us about your projects.

I’m currently giving a lot of my time to an embedded role with TasNetworks, acting as the Regional Engagement Manager for the Marinus Link project. It’s a new interconnector between Victoria and Tasmania that will provide Victoria and other states with access to Tasmania’s significant renewable energy generation and storage resources.

I’ve also been working with Pacific Hydro for a number of years, supporting community engagement on their wind, solar and battery projects, and more recently on a feasibility study for a hydrogen project in the Kimberley.

QAs an engagement professional, you bring people and projects together and shape the conversation about social value. Which Victorian projects are you most proud of?

I worked on the Regional Rail Link project, which built a new railway line through Melbourne’s western suburbs to separate regional trains from metro trains and create more capacity across the network.

I worked on the section which stretched from Footscray through to Deer Park, which involved upgrading the stations at Footscray and Sunshine and building a new station in West Footscray. As a result of that project two dangerous level crossings in the area were removed, and the suburb of Sunshine has really changed and developed in the years since then. I am a bit biased though – I live in the west so I’ve directly benefited from the changes the project has brought to the area.

QWhat role does RPS have to play in ensuring Victoria grows successfully and sustainably?

We have really smart people who are great at solving complex problems! Many of us have worked in both government and the private sector, so we understand how those environments work and what the reality of getting things done in those contexts looks like. A key role I think we can play is sharing our experiences and lessons learned – we bring a really broad perspective to our work.

QWhat types of projects do you enjoy working on the most?

My dream project would be high-profile and come with some really challenging reputational risks, along with lots of complex stakeholders and preferably a complex regulatory or legal framework to navigate. I did a Masters in Commercial Law so I really love when the legal stuff meets the comms and stakeholder engagement stuff.

QWhat makes you proud to be a Victorian?

It’s the resilience and strength of our communities. Melburnians in particular have proven to be such a tough, diligent bunch who all really look out for and support each other. I think Victorians can be especially proud of ourselves given everything we’ve been through.

Want to know more about our work in community engagement? Get in touch!

Mandi Davidson

Executive Strategy Manager - Advisory

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