Highly regarded within the industry across Australia, the US, and Europe, our managing director, Matthew Goldstraw, brings over 25 years of experience in program/project management, client-facing, team lead, and technical roles working with global industry leaders, tier-one suppliers, government organisations and SME’s.
Being a passionate advocate for Australian engineers with a strong belief that they are world-class, Matthew helped found Quartek to establish a new way of promoting their skills, recognising their abilities, and fostering their talents in an environment built on trust.
We recently sat down with Matthew to gain an insight into his passion for the work he does and the vision he carries for Quartek and the future generation of engineers.
Q. You have over 25 years of experience in the aerospace, defence, and automotive sectors. What made you passionate about this area of work?
I spent the early years of my childhood in a small town in Gippsland called Sale, which happens to be home to the East Sale RAAF base. Aircraft of all types serving in the RAAF at the time would often be flying overhead whilst we would be playing in the schoolyard or backyard. In those days, it was Mirages, HS-748s, and F-111s (yes, it does say I have over 25 years of experience!), but the real stars were the Macchis, resplendent in Roulette livery, practising their display routines.
I remember being enthralled and inspired watching them at the time. But the clincher was my occasional after-school entertainment, courtesy of my mother, which consisted of us driving out to a public road that ran parallel to the runway at East Sale. There we would sit and watch all the aircraft take-off and land. I was mesmerised. From that point on, the spark was ignited. It was always going to be about aircraft.
Q. You are one of the founders of Quartek. What was the driving force behind this?
When we conceived the idea of Quartek, the foundation was not only the four principles of trust, integrity, quality, and value, but it was also from our experience in the industry. We knew Australian engineers – be they aerospace, mechanical, systems, or electrical – were equal to, if not better than, the best in the world. The idea of building something on these principles where the best engineering talent in the business could ostensibly have a home was something that we felt almost compelled to do.
By extension, we were also convinced about the idea of supporting and nurturing Australian engineering talent. Previously having worked in organisations that would outsource and subcontract, often with very mixed results, we were adamant that we wanted to maintain work locally. Behind this thought was the idea that if we work with and grow the talents of fantastic Australian engineers, then success in delivering for our clients would naturally follow. Over seven years later, these core ideas and principles around the foundation of Quartek remain.
Q. What is the one thing you have learned and carried with you in all your years in the industry?
It’s challenging to pinpoint just one. But for me, perhaps the most essential thing that I’ve learned, and that I always carry with me, is the importance of good communication. Whether that be the spoken or written word, both are equally significant. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing an engineering report, working a technical problem through with a client in an online meeting, or catching up over coffee with a candidate looking for a new role, at the core of the success of all these endeavours is good communication.
Also, a big part of good communication is good listening. As we all know, communication is a two-way street. You can’t be successful at communicating unless you’re prepared to listen to what the other party wants to express. Ultimately, clear communication yields strong relationships, which are critical to the success of Quartek – both internally with our team and culture, and externally with our clients and partners.
Q. What does a workday look like for you?
Lots of variety, which I love! My role spans a diverse range of tasks. On a given day, I could be doing anything from catching up with our marketing guru Vishma Mistry to reviewing a technical engineering report that’s going out to a client. I might be preparing P&L and Balance Sheet reports for our board or interviewing candidates for new roles. Having such a broad remit means I rely heavily on a great team. Without the support of my fellow directors, leadership, and our engineering team, my days would be a whole lot tougher!
Q. What would be one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring professional seeking a career within the aerospace/defence industry?
Be passionate, but also be realistic. You will not always work on the design and analysis of the latest fast jet, satellite, or launch vehicle; however, there will be times when those opportunities present themselves throughout your career. If you remain passionate, you’ll keep yourself in a position to take advantage of them, and when you do, I can assure you that they’ll form some of the greatest professional experiences you will ever have.
Q. What is the one thing no one knows about you?
If you handed me an original 1980s Nintendo handheld Donkey Kong game, the one with dual screens, I could clock it.
Turn your passion into a career
If you’re looking to turn your passion into a career, get in touch today and discover the world of opportunities that lie ahead at Quartek.