Clive Weeks was born on 27 August 1948. Growing up in country Victoria, Weeks was interested in the practical aspects of a career in engineering. He remembers first hearing of the then new Monash University while at high school in the early 1960s.
I passed Maths B at intermediate level (just) at secondary school and decided to follow a science-oriented career, and I related to Civil Engineering because I had seen the local Shire Engineer in action. The outdoor nature of this appealed more than say a teacher, doctor or other more indoor scientific professions.
Weeks completed a Diploma in Civil Engineering at Bendigo Technical College and was offered a place at Monash University under the block exemption scheme. As a ‘blocko’ Weeks was qualified to skip the first two years of the Bachelor of Engineering, starting at third year. Weeks chose Monash University over the University of Melbourne, not only because Monash was the first to offer him a place, but also because ‘growing up on a farm and coming from the country, I felt that I would be more at home at the new campus on a ‘green fields’ site away from the centre of Melbourne – after all it was called ‘The Farm’!’
After graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1969, Clive Weeks began working for the Shire of Waranga in Rushworth. However, upon accepting the position, he also made it clear that he had applied for the Water Research Foundation of Australia Scholarship and intended to return to study if he was successful. After about a year working for the Shire, Weeks was offered the scholarship and returned to Monash University to start a Master of Engineering Science (Research). During the final year of his Masters, Weeks also lectured at Swinburne College, and he continued to teach there for about a year after completing his degree.
By the time I’d finished at Swinburne – I hadn’t actually given away the thought of being an academic, but to me, I was more interested in probably the teaching side rather than research. I thought if I’m going to be a good lecturer from a teaching perspective, I should go and get more experience. So I applied for a job at Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey (GHD).
Weeks recalled his intention was to work at GHD for perhaps three years and then switch back to academia. However, he ended up staying at GHD for 36 years, finishing up as Chairman and CEO for the last six years.
In 2004, Clive Weeks was awarded the Civil Engineering Alumnus of the Year Award. Reflecting on how his time at Monash University influenced his career, Weeks comments:
There’s always a lot of debate about you do all this stuff at university and you use about 10% of it, but you never know which 10% you’re going to use. You never get down to the depth of analysis at university in the subjects that you need to do when you’re actually out there practising. You do a project at university and you get down to a certain level, and you’ll hit the key issues and the fundamentals of it, whether it be a bridge or whatever, but when you actually come to do a bridge in real life, it’s a real situation. Right where you want to put the foundation there’d be a sewer main or a drain; all the interactions that come in in a real life situation you don’t actually face at university. Stakeholders get involved, they don’t want the bridge here, all that sort of stuff.
But certainly I think they prepare you well in the sense of the logic that you learn, and how you go about tackling projects … it was certainly a great foundation for a professional career.