The new Civil Contractors New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock is no stranger to running an association but it will be his first experience with our industry.
Peter steps into the position from his current long-term role as chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand, and takes over from Jeremy Sole who left the association at the end of last year.
“We are confident that Peter will manage the consolidation of Civil Contractors New Zealand following the coming together of the New Zealand Contractors’ Federation and Roading NZ,” says CCNZ president Dave Connell.
“Peter brings with him a wealth of knowledge on managing membership organisations and how to best represent industry to stakeholders. He has extensive experience in managing membership organisations and representing sector at government level.
“We are looking forward to working with Peter as the organisation moves forward in representing civil infrastructure contractors. This is a very positive appointment for our organisation and industry during a period of sustained growth.”
Peter Silcock played a key role in the establishment of Horticulture NZ in 2006 and in the development of the industry’s development strategy. Before getting into the CEO seat at CCNZ he talked with Contractor magazine.
Q. You have worked for primary grower representative organisations for over three decades. You played a key role in the setting up of Horticulture NZ in 2006 and in the development of the industry’s development strategy, 10/2020. Why did you decide that it was time to make a change in industries?
I am looking for a change and new challenges. I have had a great career in the horticulture industry and have been offered a chance to develop along with the organisations I have worked for. Working with the various boards, my staff and members we have achieved a lot but, after 10 years in my current role, I am looking for something new. I have enjoyed working for membership organisations and am looking forward to learning about a new industry and applying the knowledge and experience I have gained.
Q. What skill have you learnt in your career past that you think will be an asset representing Civil Contractors NZ?
Most of the work I do is transferable I think. The subject matter is different but the skills and principles are the same. Things like strategic and business planning, working with an elected board, financial and staff management, communications and industry advocacy. I think the most valuable skill I bring is my ability to develop and sustain relationships and build and be part of a strong team.
Q. You have extensive media experience representing the horticulture industry and have gained a lot of positive news coverage as its representative. Will you being taking a similar approach to civil construction?
Yes, my current role has quite a high media profile. I think that industry organisations like Civil Contractors NZ and HortNZ have a role to create a positive public image of the industry we represent. I am not sure yet how we will do that at Civil Contractors NZ. I need to work through that with the board, but the media needs to be part of any national organisation’s communications plan. We need to balance the organisation’s direct communications with members with comments and a profile of the issues in the wider media. I think the key is to generate positive exposure rather than always responding to negative stories.
Q. Other than the fact the horticultural and civil contracting industries are both soil-based, have they anything else in common?
I am on a steep learning curve regarding the civil contracting industry but I already see a lot of similarities. Both have very big and small operators, both have more than their fair share of self-starters and innovative people, the members are incredibly hard working and both industries are looking to build their profile and attract people with the right skills and attitude. The other similarity is that both industries are incredibly important to New Zealand’s future, they are intertwined; horticulture like other industries relies on the infrastructure like roads, bridges, ports and dams to be able to grow, distribute and export products to the world.
Q. When do you start the new role?
I need to work out my notice period here at Horticulture NZ so I don’t start with Civil Contractors until July 1. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone and working with the members, staff and stakeholders.