Introducing Michael Dirckze, Regional General Manager Sydney and Regional NSW
Michael began his career with Wormald 37 years ago and recently returned to the business as our new Regional General Manager Sydney and Regional NSW
How did you find yourself working for Wormald?
I first started working for Wormald as a cadet engineer in 1983. I was completing a mechanical engineering degree at UTS (University of Technology Sydney) part time and the cadetship provided excellent work experience while I completed my studies. During this time, I had the opportunity to work across different divisions within the Wormald business, including product management and marketing, before becoming service manager and then national account manager.
After 19 great years with Wormald, I felt it was time for a change and spent the subsequent years working with a number of other fire protection and building services companies. This was a valuable period where I was able to consolidate my industry experience across a series of senior managerial positions.
How would you describe industry changes during your 37-year career in the fire protection industry?
Technology has progressed in leaps and bounds. Today addressable fire alarm panels are the norm, and we dispatch jobs to service technicians via a mobile phone app compared to the early days when we relied on pagers and manual reports. The improvements have resulted in better efficiency and productivity which means that we can respond to our customers’ demands for more immediate information. Buildings are also smarter and integrated fire solutions are becoming part of a broader smart building solution resulting in an improvement in the level of detail and information available to service providers, building owners and managers.
Compliance, too, has changed significantly with fire protection systems now required to meet standards specified by the Building Code of Australia. Customers are increasingly looking to install fire systems that provide protection against environmental and industry specific risks, but it’s important to remember that systems must comply with the required performance standards including any Fire Engineered Solutions that are in place.
Overall it is an exciting time to be in the fire protection industry. Wormald demonstrates industry leadership through its commitment to investing in technological advances and high-performance support systems that are driving change within the industry. For example, Wormald Direct, our online customer portal, provides customers with instant visibility across an entire building portfolio on one interface, allowing issues to be identified instantly and rectified quickly.
Tell us about your current role, what are your key responsibilities?
In October 2018, I jumped at the chance to return to Wormald as Regional General Manager Sydney and Regional NSW. Being a part of the Australian based management team and working with colleagues I have known for many years was an exciting opportunity for me.
We have a great team in NSW. I interact with customers, staff and suppliers on a daily basis right across the state from Sydney to Wollongong and the South Coast and Northern NSW including Newcastle, Singleton, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Orange and the Central Coast.
We continually strive to improve and grow our customer service and operations which also includes National Fire Solutions and Simplex Time Solutions that provide time recorders and software solutions to log staff time and attendance as well as sophisticated networked clocks for use in hospitals, universities and other sites where accurate, synchronised time is important. We also have the Exelgard range of fire fighting equipment.
What trends or issues are you seeing in the fire industry today?
The NSW fire safety reform introduced on 1 October 2017 specifies that only Competent Fire Safety Practitioners (CFSPs) can perform certain tasks including annual fire safety assessments. These assessments include reviewing important maintenance records and compliance for all essential fire and life safety systems within a building.
This new reform is a significant development for the fire industry which requires increased transparency. When it comes to annual fire safety statements, Wormald provides assistance to customers to ensure they are informed about the new requirements and maintain compliance. The new Wormald Direct portal also helps customers to meet their new obligations by providing instant visibility of maintenance and service requirements for annual fire statements, while also assisting them to satisfy reporting requirements that may be needed by other stakeholders, including local council, tenants and insurers.
Since the legislation was implemented, the industry has been waiting for an approved accreditation scheme for CFSPs and the NSW government has now formally approved the Fire Protection Association Australia’s (FPA Australia) accreditation scheme. FPA Australia has an interim register which includes a number of Wormald fire safety assessors.
What do you enjoy doing in your downtime, when you’re not working?
I am an avid sports fan and a proud member of the Sydney Roosters, so I’m excited the NRL season has started again – a favourite time of year for me. I attend most home games with my family.
I’m also a huge fan of motorsports and love watching the MotoGP, especially when Australian rider Jack Miller is racing. I’ve visited a few tracks around the world and my life goal is to see them all!
When I’m not watching sports, I enjoy riding my own motorbike, currently an Aprilia Tuono.