News & Media

A passion for projects

  • Group Captain Dean Overend - Australian Defence Force, Canberra

By: CFA News

Category: Events / Fundraising / Offers, Planning & Research

  11.27 AM 3 September, 2014

Location: General

Views: 1564

It’s not often you hear the word ‘passion’ used in the same sentence as project management, but CFA’s first ever conference on this topic drew an enthusiastic response, with participants impressed with the passion that speakers put into their topics.

Comments and feedback included words such as ‘brilliant’, ‘knowledgeable and punchy’, ‘practical’ and ‘thought-provoking’, with other attendees noting that the conference had given them greater clarity and broken down tough concepts into ‘concise and digestible material’.

120 people went along to hear from a range of speakers and draw on expertise from both within CFA and outside the organisation, including PwC, Department of Justice and RMIT University.

The conference held at the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre in Preston, addressed a need for increased support for staff who work to manage c projects in an increasingly complex environment.

Projects are increasingly important for emergency services organisations as a way of doing business – particularly where that involves bringing in a new product or change, with personnel often required to ‘skill up’ in the use of technical project management methods and tools in addition to their own area of expertise.

Keynote speakers at the conference included Group Captain Dean Overend, who is currently responsible for the acquisition and sustainment of airspace surveillance and control and communications systems with the Australian Defence Force.

He shared his experiences in managing multi-billion dollar projects in high-pressure environments, and urged listeners to not let other factors sway them from keeping sight of their project’s ultimate benefit to the community.

Group Captain Overend said that best practice project management is a technical skill that he continued to have a passion for.

Under the theme of initiation, the Project Management Conference covered topics including working with government, how to construct a compelling business case and clear statement of project benefits.

Other keynote speakers included Project Management expert Paul O’Connor, currently a Sector Director at the Victorian Auditor General’s Office.

Following the success of this first event, future conferences are being planned to focus on the stages of ‘Project Delivery’ and ‘Project Closure’.

Another upcoming event raising the profile of projects – the Emergency Services Project Expo – will be held at the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre in Preston. Read more at

Last Updated: 03 September 2014