It was a desire to work in a “commercially astute environment” that jolted Alf Lay out of his 25-year career in the public service and into a role with property developer Stockland.
“Working for the government involves a lot of policy work, but ultimately I wanted that real commercial point of view. I wanted to move to a more commercially astute environment,” Mr Lay told WA Business News.
“The opportunities within government after reaching executive director level are limited.”
Mr Lay recently took on the role of senior development manager with Stockland, having held a variety of positions, including three years as a member of the East Perth Redevelopment Authority’s (EPRA) executive management team, and six years managing high-profile developments for the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Mr Lay said that, in December 2003, after 25 years working for government, it was time to move on to a new challenge.
“Stockland is a big stable company and I wanted a level of certainty. Stockland has a stable management and embodies a lot of the virtues that I appreciate, and I can apply my triple bottom line background,” he said.
Although the challenges of his new role at Stockland were different to those he had encountered before, he said his background allowed for an easy transition.
“I have done the whole spectrum of work in my previous roles – sales, community development, trends,” Mr Lay said.
“There are a lot of complexities, but some issues are really quite similar for urban renewal as for new developments, such as contamination interface issues.
“It is all about innovation and empowerment.”
Mr Lay said his role at Stockland was to add value to the development process, and to make sure Stockland continued to be innovative.
Contributing to innovation is something Mr Lay is familiar with, having led the Place Development Division, which was responsible for delivering successful urban renewal outcomes in East Perth, Northbridge and Subiaco. He was also responsible for assessing options for the adaptive use of the east Perth Power Station.
Under the Court Government, Mr Lay was involved with the Capital City Development Unit.
“This program aimed to enhance public space, and the most prolific projects I undertook were the demolition of the former BankWest building in Barrack Street, the redevelopment of Barrack Square and the construction of the Swan Bells bell tower,” he said.
In his new position Mr Lay is responsible for the project management of Stockland’s The Sanctuary, located in Aubin Grove, adjacent to Atwell.
Without advertising or launching to the general public, 95 per cent of lots in stage one have been sold, and stage two is set to be released at the end of this month.
The launch to the Stockland VIP database sold 62 per cent of lots within four days.
One third of the estate is dedicated to public open space such as parks, lakes and a conservation area.