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Q&A: Talking with Principal, Precinct Development & Planning, Dr. Kate McCauley

Jacobs’ Principal, Precinct Development & Planning, Dr. Kate McCauley talks career, her STEAM heroes and her passion for herbal teas.

Dr. Kate McCauley, Jacobs principal of precinct development and planning, is an experienced senior real estate executive with a strong track record in the design and delivery of quality mixed-use built product. She has extensive leadership experience across all phases – acquisitions, planning, design, delivery and divestment – of iconic, large-scale, complex, major and master planned urban development projects in Australia, such as Suburban Rail Loop, Central Barangaroo, Parramatta Square, Darwin City Waterfront and Rhodes Waterside. She offers a track record of success in strategy development and execution, commercial negotiations, financial management, project management and delivery, stakeholder and community engagement, and thought leadership including the successful engagement of diverse audiences – executive decision-makers, project team members and communities.

In honor of International Women in Engineering Day, we’re connecting virtually with our team of engineering heroes around the world to showcase their careers and how each of them help Jacobs to live up to our promise of Challenging today. Reinventing tomorrow.

For this feature, we talked with Kate about career, the STEAM heroes who inspire her and her passion for herbal teas.

Tell us a bit about what you’re working on these days.

I’m currently the Planning and Precincts Director on the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) project in Melbourne, Australia and part of the Jacobs’ team positioning for strategic projects in the heart of the Sydney Central Business District and Greater Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

What’s your favorite part of your role?

I really enjoy working with people from different disciplines and backgrounds to come up with new ways to contribute to a better future. I love bouncing ideas around and taking things forward into practical solutions that improve the “how.”

We’re publishing this article in honor of International Women in Engineering Day and this year’s theme is Engineering Heroes. Who are some of the heroes who inspired you to pursue a career in STEAM?

What a question, there are so many to choose from! I have to say that I can’t go past Rachel Carson and her major work Silent Spring (1962). That book was instrumental in shaping my sensitivity to the potential impact of human activity on the natural world, and how we can find ways to do better. She is definitely one my heroes - so courageous and ahead of her time!

When you think of engineers or engineering as a hero, what does that mean to you?

Let’s see. To me, engineering heroes bring a fine level of commitment, open-mindedness and observation skills to bear on everyday acts. They are in it for the long haul.

If you aren’t working, what would we be most likely to find you doing?

Either in a barre/plates class sweating it out or taking my very energetic pointer for a walk with my partner.

Most interesting career moment?

Embodying the adage “the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know”. That happened for me about 12 months into my PhD!

What would you rate a 10 out of 10?

Something that fundamentally changes the way I see or experience life. A conversation with a friend, a piece of music, an article – doesn’t matter what it is, it’s the effect on my experience as a human being that matters.

Most proud career moment?

I don’t think there is one moment, it’s the partially complete mosaic I see when I look back that’s most fulfilling.

What advice would you give to young professionals?

Follow your nose and find a few good mentors - people whose character and work you admire - and keep them close!

People would be surprised to know that I….

I have a thing for trying new flavours of herbal tea.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?

Without question, the people!

Join the #OurJacobs team

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable.

We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision. Let’s see the impact we can create, together.



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