Laying sustainable foundations for future growth
We talk to Arash Roshdieh, our International Operations Manager and Senior Principal. Arash joined ATC Williams in 2004 and officially started in this newly created role in January 2023. We discuss his latest work in India and enduring passion for water management.
What does your new role as International Operations Manager involve?
The role has two main aspects. The first is supervising our off-shore operations, including our company in Peru and any future operations in other countries. The second part is keeping an overview of all projects outside of Australia undertaken by our Australian operations. Our work starts when we receive a request for a proposal and includes a due diligence assessment (GO NO GO) before commencing the preparation of a proposal for a project outside Australia. Then we will provide general management, client liaison and problem-solving to the project team, as required.
Where are the international projects located?
We have projects across the globe. We have a small operation in Peru and have been active in South America for several years. We are excited about our ongoing work in Mongolia, and closer to home, we work in neighbouring countries such as Southeast Asia, New Caledonia and others. We have been involved in Central Asia since 2009 with two major Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) projects in Kazakhstan. We designed and delivered these projects and continue to be engaged in several capacities, including as Engineer of Record (EOR) for both projects. In the Middle East, we have been in the region since 2000, and we currently have a tailings project in Saudi Arabia that started in 2019 and is now in Stage 2 design. Most recently, in 2021, we have been invited to share our expertise with several tailings projects in India which we are excited about.
Tell us more about ATC Williams’ recent work in India.
In late 2021 we were approached by Vedanta, and later in 2022, by Tata Steel and AM/NS India to assist them with their tailings management facilities. John Milson, Dale Ross, Sadegh Javadi, and I are working on delivering these projects in India. Part of our work in India is assessing compliance with the new ICMM Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GSTM). We are also designing a greenfield tailings storage facility for AM/NS India. Along with being rich in resources, India has highly educated, smart engineers and scientists motivated to implement Australian and Global best-practise. I can see that any technical assistance we provide will have an exponential impact and community benefit in future years, which is personally very rewarding.
Is your career similar to how you imagined it twenty years ago?
Not really. When I started my career, I was focused on technical work only. After I joined ATC Williams as a Senior Engineer in 2004, I realised from observing the leadership group that management is an important skill requiring work to learn how to do it well. As it happened, I was soon involved in international projects, and simply because of the nature of the work, I had to acquire many management skills. I gradually became interested in management in general and the challenges of overseas projects. The work in India is a perfect example as it requires a combination of technical and management ability which is both challenging and satisfying.
Do you enjoy mentoring others now?
I really enjoy mentoring other people. I like to see that I have a role to play in helping young engineers grow their knowledge and gain confidence. At ATC Williams, we focus on working as a team and learning from each other. As an example, it is extremely satisfying to see that a young engineer who worked with me in tailings and water management projects a few years ago is currently working alongside me as a project manager and does his job professionally and skilfully, maybe a lot better than I could have ever done it.
What advice do you give others who work with water?
I initially trained as a civil/water engineer, so water is always my passion. Water can usually be a challenge. This is due to various reasons, one of them being climate change and variability in precipitation. Depending on the location or the time of the year, one month, there can be too much water, and the next month there is not enough.
When creating a design, it’s essential to understand and plan around the weather. It is difficult to force water to behave the way you want – you’re better off understanding how water behaves and to work around it with minimum impact rather than against it.
That is what makes the work challenging, and it’s what makes me love it too. I believe we need more people to study and understand the environment in general and particularly water problems, to make the world a better place for all of us.
You can follow Arash on Linkedin here
ATC Williams team working onsite on various projects in India.