2018 Project Manager of the Year – Finalists

Falcon Training are once again proud to sponsor the Project Manager of the Year Award. This Award will be presented at the 2018 Project Management Conference, which is being held in Auckland 19 – 21 September.

This award recognises a project manager’s significant achievement or sustained performance, in the project management of a project or multiple projects where PMBOK® principles have been applied and demonstrated in the previous year. The three finalists are:

Sanjay Arya, Department of Statistics

Robert Rankin, Mercury Energy

Jonathon Yu, Beca



Meet our fantastic finalists and find out about their superb contributions behind their nomination.

Sanjay Arya

Simply put, Sanjay is described as “the go to guy” in terms of initiatives that are as far away as you can get from straight forward. He is our most requested Project Manager.

Sanjay’s key strengths are:

  • He builds teams that are very focused, have a clear picture of what success looks like at the end and at all stages on the journey
  • At any time Sanjay can tell anyone who asks what the status of the project is, what has been achieved in the past few weeks and what will be achieved over the next few weeks
  • Although not being female he has the multi-tasking gene
  • As a mentor, he always makes himself available to help other project professionals
  • He manages well through all 360 degrees (as his manager I am well aware of this)
  • He is a really nice guy
  • If you are on his project in a governance role there will be no surprises

The thing Sanjay’s manager, Dave Alcock appreciates the most about Sanjay is that despite his success he is always looking to improve. He constantly asks how could I have done this better. What more can I learn?

Comment from Project Executive, Terry McCaul – Chief People Officer: 

“The work that Sanjay got involved in the for the implementation of a new HRIS/Payroll system for Stats NZ included the establishment of system requirements and defining procurement parameters as well as the actual project management of implementing the new system from the time it was selected.

Sanjay has proven to us that he is the very best at what he does. His project management skills are some of the highest quality that I have experienced. He has built and engendered a very strong team ethos and they have, under his guidance, kept this project moving along meeting all deadlines and with very few difficulties. This is a testament to Sanjay’s planning, his attention to detail and his communication with all stakeholders. He has kept me involved to a degree where I (as Project Executive) am very comfortable and confident that we are going to achieve our goals with this new system. “


Robert Rankin

During Rob’s time at the University of Edinburgh, studying Mechanical Engineering, he developed a keen interest in Renewable Energy Technologies.

This interest led him to a consultant role with Black & Veatch (Glasgow, UK) working in the Wave and Tidal power sector, offering consultancy services to the industry and government as the UK focused on commercialising these technologies.  Initially starting as a Mechanical Engineer reviewing wave and tidal designs, Rob transitioned into a Project Management role and led a multi-million dollar R&D project for the UK government assessing optimum tidal technologies in partnership with Lockheed Martin and c.40 industry technology providers.

In 2013 Rob decided to emigrate to New Zealand and, keen to continue the Renewable Energy journey, took up a role with Mercury (then Mighty River Power) as a Project Manager working on major Geothermal and Hydro infrastructure upgrades. During Rob’s time at Mercury he has worked on a wide range of projects including: geothermal turbine and generator replacements, drilling geothermal wells, well interventions, constructing cross country pipelines and a hydro station rehabilitation (replacement of major operating plant).

The standout project to date and the project for which Rob has been nominated is the delivery of 5 new wells and a well repair across Mercury’s Geothermal field. The c.$70M highly complex and risky project included managing land owners, drilling wells to an average depth of 2.6km, constructing interconnecting infrastructure and commissioning the wells and associated infrastructure.

Rob has also been instrumental in delivering a Mercury internal course on Project Management that provides the recipients the opportunity to achieve their CAPM accreditation. In 4 years Mercury has put 55 staff through the course.

Rob is also an alumni of the Falcon Training PMP course which he completed in 2014.



Jonathon Yu 

Jonathon is an Associate in the Project Strategy and Delivery section at Beca. He is passionate about transforming ideas to reality for his clients through a collaborative approach to project management which has led to the successful delivery of often challenging projects.

After completing his Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics with 1st class honours, Jonathon began his career as a Mechanical Engineer in the Beca Building Services. He provided design and construction monitoring services for the development of the University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and enjoyed the combination of complex technical challenges, meeting and working with fantastic people, and seeing his designs come to fruition.

While in London on his OE, Jonathon transitioned to a project management role with the development of the West Norwood Health and Leisure Centre. As a project manager, Jonathon relished the opportunity to understand his client’s vision and aspirations better, and to apply both his technical and soft skills on a more holistic scale. It was an easy decision to continue down the path of project management when he returned to NZ

Jonathon was the Senior Project Manager for the recently completed Pier B Extension at Auckland Airport. Jonathon’s application of innovative project management techniques alongside traditional processes enabled the challenges associated with fast tracked design and construction in a complex airport environment to be overcome. The result was a high quality facility delivered within budget and ahead of schedule.

In addition to the delivery of projects and programmes, Jonathon also enjoys leading and developing others in the Project Management profession in his role as Team Leader at Beca.


Best of luck to all three of our finalists!