The beauty of our industry is that you meet people from all walks of life. Behind the wheel of every TMA or tow truck is a person with a story on how he or she found their passion in road maintenance, traffic control or incident response.
The story of Incident Response crew member for NorthConnex, Kellie Last, is one you’ll certainly remember.
A proud indigenous woman from the Kamilaroi people, Kellie was born to help people, well, maybe animals first.
“I was a vet nurse for 10 years. I ran my own clinic,” said Kellie.
“I have five dogs and six cats. One reason I left the industry is because my mother-in-law told me I couldn’t rescue any more.”
But after 10 years as a vet nurse, the biggest toll that Kellie was overtaken by was the heartbreak of having to regularly put down dogs.
“Unfortunately, every Monday I’d have to come in and put down between a dozen to two dozen greyhounds that weren’t fast enough to race that weekend,” Kellie said.
“It was ten years of that, and I just couldn’t do it anymore.”
So, Kellie sought for a change.
In the various industries that Kellie could’ve entered, she chose road maintenance and construction.
“I chose traffic control because every day is different, and I enjoyed that,” Kellie said.
In 2016, Kellie found herself working on the construction of the M8 motorway and in five years she would find herself as the Gatekeeper and Site Escort for Delivery and leading a crew as big as 25 members on a given day.
Playfully nicknamed “the one” at her previous role, Kellie says that her rise to leadership was attributed to her ability to stick to procedure, something she picked up after years as a vet nurse.
“Everyone wanted me for the job because they knew I did it properly, followed every procedure and I wouldn’t deviate away from it,” Kellie said.
Perhaps Kellie was born for her role with NorthConnex. Being an incident response crew member, Kellie describes that each incident requires a level of patience and cool headedness.
“You have to be very calm and methodical in your approach to any incident.”
Kellie is one of the many females entering the industry and trying to make a name for herself , and it seems she’s heading in the right direction.
“I would like to be the first female traffic commander one day,” Kellie said.
“That’s my aspiration for the long term.”
With Kellie, old habits die hard and she applies her methodical and patient approach to her job and to her future.
“I just want to concentrate on the job that I am in now, and I’ll worry about my aspirations in the future.”
Kellie’s love for helping people (and animals) shines through her dedication to get the job done. She’s one of the many reasons why incidents are so efficiently managed at the NorthConnex tunnel.
Contract Manager at NorthConnex, Wahid Ezaty boasts of Kellie’s work ethic.
“She has a very strong work ethic and is always willing to help out team members,” Wahid said.
“Kellie brings value as a member of the team who has also assisted in training the newer members of the team.”
For Kellie, her passion for incident response and traffic control wouldn’t have been found unless she took the chance to try something new.
It’s a sentiment that she encourages everyone to follow, particularly females.
“You won’t know unless you give it a go,” says Kellie.
Fortunately, nowadays there are more and more females entering the industry and with Kellie being one of them, she can speak highly enough of all she’s achieved.
“If you learn something every day, it’s a great day,” Kellie says
Congratulations on all your achievements so far Kellie!
If you are interested in joining the talented team at DM Roads visit our People and Careers page for more information.