Meet Adrian, Governance Officer

Date: 18 Dec 2020

Adrian at GRDC
Adrian Fahey, Governance Officer

Adrian Fahey, where did you grow up and where do you live now?

South Australian locations included Grace Plains (just the other side of Mallala), Owen, Monarto, Nairne and Mount Compass, as well as Ballarat in Victoria. And the list goes on. We moved around quite a lot as my Dad managed broiler farms for Inghams – a slightly ironic fact, considering I’m vegan.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A basketball player. Those aspirations didn’t pan out, with me being a whopping five feet seven inches tall!

Current description of job with GRDC?

I am employed as a governance officer with GRDC, based in the Adelaide office. This role entails assisting my team with maintaining the organisation’s policy library, internal audit program, regulatory compliance and risk management frameworks. We also assist the audit and risk committee and ensure external reporting responsibilities are managed appropriately.

What has been your career path/journey to this role?

I started my career in a laboratory traineeship with a local plastics recycling business. Working in a manufacturing (production) environment was an interesting and unique experience and included climbing onto bulk bags and taking spike samples, taking injection moulding test samples and of course analysing the plastics’ physical properties (melt flow index, density, tensile strength etc).

After several years I moved on to a senior laboratory technician role with Bureau Veritas. I was responsible for undertaking testing and analysis of various automotive components for the local car market.

I then moved to the Department of Industry and Science as a trade measurement officer. This was an even more unique position, responsible for conducting inspections on a range of retail, wholesale and importer business traders throughout Australia to ensure their measuring equipment was approved for trade use, verified and accurate – basically making sure both consumer and business were getting a fair deal.

At this stage of my career I really sought deeper purpose within my local community and thought I would apply my skills in the aged care and disability sectors. Working in policy and on some key organisation-wide projects was both rewarding and challenging, considering the widespread industry reform within those sectors at the time.

What was the worst job you’ve ever done, why was it terrible, and more importantly what did you learn from the experience?

Well, I didn’t have any crazy jobs when I was younger, though parts of my previous work as a trade measurement officer were not savoury. There was a targeted project on wholesale meat packing business traders, which was a bit confronting and not something the general public is exposed to every day.

What do you see as the key/s to being successful in your current position with GRDC?

Getting up to scratch on the grains industry, learning the GRDC business and its processes, as well as the vast array of external and internal stakeholder needs and expectations.

Who do you admire in the grains industry and why?

I admire the grain growing community in general, as these growers face some of the most difficult and challenging conditions in the world.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Don’t play ball in the house. Oh wait, that’s what I learned from the Brady Bunch!

Enjoy the rollercoaster. There are plenty of ups and downs. Things may not always go as planned, so enjoy today. (the clichéometer is at 10, but it’s definitely an accurate summation in my opinion).

How have you got through COVID-19 – any tips?

I purchased an embarrassingly expensive coffee machine in February. I view it as an investment. So, the one tip I have is: make sure you have a good coffee machine at home. Lockdown can happen at any time. Victorians and South Australians know what I’m talking about.

What advice would you give a graduate/student who is keen to join the grains industry?

I’m new to the industry, so I may be the one needing advice.