People, program & culture | 22 November 2022

Exploring Ingrid’s 15 years at Millar Merrigan

1. How did you start working at Millar Merrigan?

A friend mentioned there was a position available at MM and the next thing I remember was sitting in an interview with Simon and Mick. I waltzed in with a portfolio of hand drawings which was the thing way back then.
Both Simon and Mick were happy to give me a go.

2. What was your first position at MM and what do you do now?

I initially started in the Planning Department alongside Mandy Edwards with the majority of my work providing Neighbourhood & Site and S&C plans. I then moved across to the Landscape Department working alongside Lynne Pepper. The department was renamed Landscape & Environment and I now work alongside Jen Stone providing a variety of Landscape plans from infill development, major subdivision, Primary/Secondary Schools, Tram depots, Resource Centre’s, Apartment living, Residential living, the list goes on.
I have a degree in Building Design & Technology, but deep down I am a mad gardener, so there is no doubt about why I love my job.

3. What do you like most about working for MM?

Having been with MM for 15 years, I have met many people all of which have been a pleasure to work alongside.
I have seen many people depart and many move on but on the whole the majority of people hang around which is what I like most. I am lucky to work with such a great team.

4. What has been your biggest ‘lesson learned’ in the past 15 years?

Cross your ‘t’s’ and dot your ‘i’s’. It’s a cliche but in this industry it’s a must.

5. What advice would you give someone just starting out at MM?

There are over 120 people now working for MM, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, there is bound to be someone who knows the answer, and don’t be afraid to ask your managers for the best answer with their wealth of knowledge.

6. What advice would you give any Landscape Designer when starting a career in Land Development?

Understand how to read a survey plan and research the area. Take into consideration the terrain and surrounding conditions, it helps when proposing vegetation on site, not all plants behave the same and this is key to the life of a plant or tree. Plant knowledge is king.

7. What do you see as your biggest career accomplishment since joining the company?

Joining the Landscape & Environment Department allows the flexibility to design and be creative.

8. What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in the past 15 years?

Working with Mitchell Shire Council – who were our client. Unusual yes. The Seymour Resource Centre being built by the Council commissioned us to provide them with a landscape plan. The site was extremely difficult and to collaborate and provide a solution was extremely rewarding.

9. What is one thing you wish you knew before working at MM?

The latin name of every species of plant in Australia……. I’m currently still working on it!!

10. In what ways has MM changed over the past decade?

When I started with MM my three children were aged 6, 8 and 9. I juggled everything back then, it was an extremely busy time as the flexibility was not readily available.
WOW has this flipped on its head, I think MM have come a long way in understanding the importance of providing a balanced work / home life with the flexibility for working school hours / working from home and acknowledging the importance of family.

11. What is your biggest hope for the next decade at MM? How do you expect it to grow?

I hope to explore and evolve my passion for landscape design and utilise the guidance, knowledge and support MM has available and has provided in the past.

12. How has Landscape Design changed in your time since starting?

The Landscape & Environment Department has evolved beyond the minor infill and major subdivision/development sector. Our scope of service in unlimited.

13. Why did you choose to become a Landscape Designer?

To hopefully make a difference to the environment in a positive way. To save vegetation, to offset tree removal and provide opportunities for renewal. Working within the Landscape department has provided me with an opportunity to fulfil my beliefs. Go hug a tree, its grounding, rather than making a million dollars you will feel a million dollars.

14. What does Landscape Design within Land Development offer women?

In new build, it is the painter who has the task of completing / masking and beautifying the build. As in landscape we have that task too. It is the finale piece of the jigsaw, the most noticed and commented upon. Any design intent or submission to council will expect a landscape design which will contribute to enhancing the site and in return the wellbeing of people who live within.

15. How would you summarise your 15 years in 15 words?

Lucky to work with extremely talented people who provide quality work and positive outcomes.

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