Coworker Profile: Calibre


What drives you?

For Daniel Vernall of Calibre Group it's making his mark on the world by creating something that will be on this earth longer than he will.

“The whole reason I got into this role was because I always wanted to put my little mark on the world.”

It’s safe to say, Daniel, 30, has already made a mark on the world and continues to do so, in the form of engineering.

Daniel is the senior civil engineer and project manager at Calibre, which is one of our coworking businesses here in the Soda Inc. coworking space.

Calibre is an engineering consultancy firm. They are an Australian owned business, with around 300 employees in Australia and 160 here in New Zealand.

Calibre, in a nutshell, help with any strand of engineering, that could be, designing high rises, land developments, expressways or bridges.

Daniel has spent most of his life living in the Waikato region. His original plan was to become an architect as he quickly discovered his passion for designing, building and the creativity behind it all.

Daniel has always been ambitious and driven to achieve his goals, even from a young age.

“When I was in high school, in the weekends I was building houses and working at the family workshop fixing cars or working on the farm.”

After spending some time looking after the family workshop, he quickly then realised that being a mechanic was not quite the right path for him.

“I ran the family workshop for about a year and a half and then my old man said to me, ‘you’re not going to make any money as a mechanic or being a builder so go and do something else’.

“I always had my eye on engineering, but had never really thought about it seriously until then.”

Daniel then started studying engineering part time at NZiHT whilst also working at a large engineering firm, Opus, drafting infrastructure projects.

“They got me to help on Te Rapa bypass, which was the first part of the Waikato expressway, from Wintec to the Ngaruawahia turn-off.

“I worked for three and a half years on this project, pretty much designing all the storm water systems. So, if you ever want to find anyone to blame for flooding down there, blame me,” he laughed.

From there, Daniel moved to Wellington where he made his mark on the capital. He spent nearly two years in Wellington looking after maintenance contracts with NZTA surrounding the bridges in the area.

“I did like Wellington, but then I started to miss the green grass and the fog, of all things.

“I was so used to the Waikato where we have so much fog. Some days we don't see the sun till about 5.30pm, then it’s beautiful for half an hour, and then its dark,” he laughed

Daniel and his partner then decided to make the move back to Waikato to be nearer to family, where he did some more work on the Longswamp and Huntly bypasses.

“Then I got approached to come and work for Calibre, and I had been working with Opus for just over ten years, so I decided it was time for a bit of a change.”

Daniel has now been with Calibre for about 2 years and is loving it so far.

“I have loved the change in scenery, it's been great. You don't realise when you work in a company for so long you learn that company in and out and then it's time for a change.

“I learnt a lot from Opus that I took to Calibre, so I didn’t repeat the same mistakes twice.”

There are currently four Calibre employees in their Hamilton office. Their Hamilton team is constructed of two structural engineer and two civil engineers.

Calibre has been at the Soda coworking space for nearly two years, as they needed a space which gave them the room to grow as a business during the early stages of opening up their Hamilton office.

“So, by starting up with one employee, we knew we could potentially grow up to 12 staff here at Soda and the space gives us the room and ease to grow.

“One thing I love about Soda and the spaces is that you have a lot of different companies everyone raves about it. Not all the businesses are going at the same pace that you are, and everyone has their own ideas. It's really good to be able to talk to other people, and bounce ideas off each other.

“The only thing was, with our line of work, we were working on a bunch of confidential stuff, which meant every day I had to clear all my stuff away - which meant I always had a really clean desk,” he laughed.

“Which is why we then moved to the private office downstairs, that works well for us, but maybe not my desk so much,” he said.


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