Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 2 2013 Contents Jason says one of FSU’s key responsibilities is to ensure
sailors’ technical skills are enhanced and developed,
which he says will help build sustainment of Navy’s ships
and submarines when they are at sea.
“One of the biggest challenges will be driving a high
performance culture within FSU given over 12 months
ago it was a place sailors went to get shore respite after
being out at sea,” he says.
“Also, given all sailors rotate on average every two
years through different departments within Navy, and
some sailors never rotate back into FSU, the challenge
of retention of knowledge management is critical. I’ve
spoken to sailors who have 20 years of service and
they’ve been to FSU twice, so they are there for 18-24
months and then that knowledge has gone out the door.”
To combat this, Jason and his team will be trialling new
methods of communication.
“Due to the
I want to
about introducing social media into FSU as a pilot. On
average the statistics are telling me that our sailors are
around the 21-year-old mark – they’re on these iPhones
day-in and day-out, like myself, except I’m 41, but that’s
the way they connect.
“What I want to do is put out consistent messages
associated with what’s happening because the biggest
feedback that I’ve received is, ‘We’re mushrooms and
we’re growing in the dark and we’re not getting any
information’, and I believe that’s one part of the reason
why we have this exodus of young sailors leaving.”
As well as developing new communication structures,
Jason says this is where the integration of civilian staff
into FSU is important and he says embracing change is
essential to allow FSU to become an efficient business.
“I am quite impressed with the pride and passion of our
sailors in trying to make their areas more efficient. This
gives me an ideal opportunity to tap into this enthusiasm
to ensure appropriate change momentum is achieved,”
he says. “Some of our junior sailors have highlighted
opportunities to make things better and produced work-
arounds that are safe, compliant, faster and smarter.
“Now I’d really like to work with senior sailors to embrace
changes with new ways of thinking, new technology and
capabilities and soft learnings around management styles
that would see a ‘pull effect’ in attracting sailors to FSU.
With the amount of training one receives, the number of
fringe benefits and the lifestyle, it’s not a bad gig.”
As a mechanical engineer by trade, Jason’s interest in
how things work started at an early age.
“My parents had a farm and it was four-wheel drives and
motorbikes – you know all those ‘boys and their toys’
type stuff,” Jason says. “So when they broke down we
used to play with them, fix them and repair them.
“I joined Qantas in 1990 as an apprentice and I
guess that’s what basically built those hand skills and
capabilities and I haven’t looked back.”
Jason made a decision to follow a management path six
years into what he calls his “hands-on-the-tools journey”.
“After I finished my apprenticeship and further technical
studies, I looked at my avenues and they were to go into
a highly-technical specialist space or the other fork in the
road was to go into leadership business management,”
“I liked to interact with people a whole lot more so I went
down the leadership path and actually went off and did a
diploma of leadership in business management and then
eventually did an MBA.”
However, it is the combination of his hands-on
background, management and leadership skills that will
stand him in good stead for his future with FSU.
“I’m not the expert, they’re the experts – but because I
worked my way up predominantly as a fitter machinist
and aircraft mechanic working on gas turbine engines,
and we have gas turbine engines on our ships, I think that
goes a long way when I start connecting with the sailors,”
While he may have moved into a managerial role, he still
likes working with engines.
“I love American muscle cars and Harley-Davidsons,” he
says. “I grew up in a predominantly ethnic suburb – I’m
of Maltese heritage but I was born in Australia and very
proud of that – and all of those guys were heavily into
cars and motorbikes.
“I currently ride a Harley-Davidson V-Rod Night Rod
Special. I had a Mustang in the past, a Fastback model,
but I got rid of that a few years ago. Now my son’s 13,
and he wants a Mustang, so maybe we’ll work on doing
one up together one day, but I don’t want to spoil him.”
his muscle cars
Issue 2 2013
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