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Steve Culpeper – Our New Director of Operations

As our previous Director of Operations Bonnie Dixon moves to become our new Director of Business, we introduce Steve to the role.

Steve has worked in operations over most of his career across different industries in both Australia and Internationally. Most recently, he was involved in education as Head of Operations for Gradability where he spent the last 4 years rebuilding operations. To keep things interesting but also to challenge himself, Steve also founded a company called Cloud Payment Group which specializes in payment solutions and accounts receivable management.

We asked Steve a few questions about his role and working at St Andrew’s

Can you explain your role as Director of Operations?

My role at St Andrew’s is a newly created one. Thanks to Rob Leach and Bonnie Dixon for their vision, I will now be responsible for everything Operational outside of Finance and HR. This includes Building Works, Catering, Housekeeping, Facilities, IT,  Events Management, and some other key projects.

As the new Director of Operations, what are some of your initial goals and priorities for the College?

There’s certainly a lot going on at St Andrew’s and I can see that it’s a period of great change within the College. Firstly I would like Operations to have a clear line of sight and a formidable structure around our work’s plan. There are lots on the wish list and my role is to enable that and there are many moving parts to bring together along with many questions to be answered. One of which is how do we align sustainability plans to our works plan to ensure that we are achieving economies of scale. This will take some financial planning with Bonnie to ensure there’s a clear line of sight regarding what we want to achieve and how we are going to achieve it and by when. There is going to be a fair amount of learning from my side. My role is about enabling the success of the teams by aligning them to St Andrews’s strategic plan.

What attracted you to the role at St Andrew’s College?

To be honest I met with Bonnie and initially, it was to cover her role for 3 months while she was on Maternity Leave. I didn’t envisage there was any further opportunity however I wasn’t looking forward to finishing my contract. The people here, the plan for diversity, and the opportunity to play a role in enabling positive change for this prestigious college is one I couldn’t refuse. Not to mention I have only ever worked in the corporate world so to be here is just a refreshing change for me. There are many of our alumni that give up their personal time to assist in moving the College forward. I find this quite amazing and motivating.

What has been a highlight so far in this role?

St Andrew’s is in every way unique to me so every day has been a learning and adventure. Therefore the learning curve I am on is exciting. The intent of the team at St Andrew’s is always about the students. Whilst some organisations will talk about the Customer or Student Experience, the team at St Andrew’s actively lives and breathes this. Regardless of any decision that’s made, it’s always done with the intent of making St Andrew’s the best place to be for students and staff.  Without a doubt, the people make it a great place to be!

Beyond your professional experience, what are some of your interests or hobbies?

Being a sports nut, I will keep an eye on most sports and have coached junior Rugby League teams over the years. Also, I have a broad genre of music that I like not just the music but the story behind it that appeals to me. I also have a keen interest in restoration, whether it be a house, car, or furniture, I just love seeing anything that’s been discarded brought back to life or repurposed. Through the eyes of my 10-year-old Daughter (Bridie), I am learning about horses. She is mad about them and rides most weekends. They are majestic and I can see why she loves them so much.

What are you reading/watching or listening to at the moment that you would recommend?

A podcast that isn’t too heavy is The Howie Games podcast by Mark Howard that covers sporting greats, musicians, and many people in the public eye. I love hearing their stories of resilience and understanding the drivers behind their success of individuals and also how they coped with failure. I haven’t picked up a book in a while but the last one was The Happiest Man on Earth which is the story of Eddie Jaku, a Holocaust survivor who lived to 101. It’s a light read but compelling.

Finally, what are you most looking forward to in terms of working with the St Andrew’s College community?

Without a doubt, there is lots to do and there’s lots of energy behind achieving it. I am looking forward to being part of that and working with so many dedicated people from the St Andrew’s Council to the Staff to achieve it. I feel quite honoured to have an opportunity to be part of this.

Steve became our official Director of Operations on the 1st of August. To find out more about new staff appointed to Drew’s this year, read about Alice Draffin and Dr Daniel Tyler.