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Meet your next Queensland Branch President

William Speirs, Futures Strategist at Urban Utilities, has been elected as the Queensland Branch President from July 2024. Get to know more about Will and his vision for the future of the Queensland Branch.

William Speirs is a Futures Strategist at Urban Utilities, with a background in economics, engineering and strategy. William Speirs was recently elected AWA Queensland Branch President, taking over the role from Margit Connellan in July 2024.

What drew you into the water industry?

The people. Being part of the water industry means you care – about people, community,  the future, the environment, climate change, inclusivity, social equity and so much more. No matter what background or discipline, everyone I have met in this industry has had this deep sense of care – there are not many other industries like it!

Who or what do you draw inspiration from?

My colleagues and my wife (who coincidentally also happens to be a colleague!) – I’ve been fortunate in my career so far to have worked with so many amazing and talented people that I have been able to learn so much from. The way they bring their whole selves to work, in terms of their values, their background and their approach and interactions with others.  

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Not a lot of spare time with a 1 year old running about! I’m a keen AFL, Rugby Union and F1 fan, and when I can carve out a bit of quiet time I enjoy a bit of reading – I just finished Cameron K Murray’s Great Housing Hijack, and onto David Mitchell’s Unruly. Always happy to hear other’s suggestions.  

What do you believe is currently the greatest challenge for your part of the water industry?

Perhaps not the greatest challenge, but certainly an interesting challenge, is how water utilities can best integrate with other service providers when land and footprints are limited. The days of each service provider having their own corridors and parcels are coming to an end as our towns and cities expand – we’re all going to need to get comfortable as we build services in close proximity, and sometimes above and below each other.

How do you consider your organisation benefits from most by being a corporate member of the Australian Water Association?

Being a member of the AWA means being a member of an active and highly engaged community on all issues of water. There is no shortage of knowledge and networks to draw on day to day, and it is a great opportunity to present the people and projects that make our industry great.  

What messages would you like to give to your colleagues in the Queensland water sector?

The future is uncertain, chaotic, and complex – but it always has been. That we can now see more, know more, and understand more about how our world is changing should not make us fearful, rather, be cause for optimism that we’re on our way to solving our biggest challenges.