<p>Gavin Calder</p> Image

Gavin Calder

Building Services Design

Local & National Contributor

  After a 53-year career as a building services assessor and designer, Gavin is in the process of phasing into retirement. This commenced 3 years ago when he changed to working 3 days a week. Next year, he will be fully retired from the workforce but will remain very active in the community.

He says:

“I identified that I needed to take a planned approach as I moved into retirement to ensure my own health and wellbeing. Through this change period, my work in both Rotary and the community is providing me with the extra satisfaction that comes from putting back and hence contributes to my sense of purpose.
Too often people don’t plan these transitions and don’t have the support in place that comes from being part of the Rotary Community. “

When Gavin talks about his work experiences you are left in no doubt that he has loved the roles he has held since he joined the Ministry of Works as a mechanical draughting cadet in Wellington in 1971. He has remained with the same employer for those 53 years as the business has been through ownership and name changes, initially to OPUS and then to WSP International. One of his two sons has also now followed in his footsteps and is working in WSP, taking over some of the responsibilities Gavin has relinquished. Within the company’s culture there remains a strong community focus aligned with Rotary’s Ethos and several of the company’s staff have belonged to Rotary over the years as an extension of that culture.

Having built on his initial training he completed the Technical Qualifications with an NZCE in Mechanical Engineering. His career also developed through design work, project management and later, as a specialist in building compliance. Some of the highlights were carrying out assignments on New Zealand’s remote islands in the Southern Ocean plus Raoul in the Kermadec Islands, to the North of New Zealand.

He noted:

“ Being a member of a task force of circa 100 to the Campbell Islands primarily mounted as a clean-up mission and initiative to eradicate predators was an incredible experience considering the diverse range of people and skills involved in this work and the environment, we had to work in. My role included building assessments for maintenance and investigations of materials used containing asbestos to ensure it was both documented and not an environmental threat.”

Despite a busy career which often took him away from Nelson around the country and from time to time to Australia. Gavin has been an important contributor to the community. As his children grew into teenagers, he supported their development as a Group Leader in Scouts and a Trustee of Nayland College for seven years, including 4.5 years as the Board Chair.

Gavin joined Rotary in 1999.

“My time in Rotary gave me the opportunity to again contribute using the skills learnt in my work career plus my time in governance roles in the community. Rotary opened a whole new world of networking opportunities, learning, friendships, and experiences.”

Two of Gavin’s key contributions to Rotary has been in the development of the award-winning club bulletin of which he has been editor for 6 years and as the Rotary Club of Nelson coordinator for Charitable distributions from the JR Mckenzie Trust, helping fund uniforms and expenses for the children of single parent families as they move into secondary schools.

He says “ It has been a privilege but also very humbling to carry out this work on behalf of the JR Mckenzie Trust which was set up as a Legacy by the late John and Mary McKenzie. John as both a successful businessman and Rotarian believed in putting back into the community as a way of sharing from his success in business. Their vision is continuing to play an important role in helping families at risk ensure their children have the opportunity of a fuller secondary education.”

JR Mckenzie was a great advocate for Rotary and committed to the Rotary principles that underlay his belief in “ethical “ business and that commitment is evidenced by the role played by Rotarians to this day in working with the Trust to deliver on his vision.

Gavin’s own commitment to community has also carried on in parallel with his Rotary service having spent 10 years as a local AA District Councilor (Automobile Association) including 3 years as Chair and a further 3 years on the AA National Council.

In all ways, Gavin is a team player and appreciates the power of that in making the contribution Rotary does in the Nelson/Tasman region, the Pacific and the World.

Ross Newman
Campbell Rollo
Richard Wells
Rex Morris
Shalom Levy
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