Insights from Dino Russo, an Interview with Schiavello


Original article published by Steve Colquhoun.


Developing great people is the key to delivering great projects

For someone integrally involved in major commercial developments, it’s surprising to find that Dino Russo considers the positive impact he’s had on people as his greatest career achievement.

Developing great people is what delivers great projects, asserts the National Director of Projects at Pomeroy Pacific, who started his career sweeping floors at his family’s shop-fitting business in suburban Adelaide. Making his way through construction into a succession of project management roles, including working on Melbourne’s landmark Federation Square development, he maintains the human interactions have done the most to shape his career.

“I came up through the trade, so I don’t have any formal qualification in what I bring to a business. What I’ve got is an approach and attitude commensurate with a great business culture,” he says.

Mentorship goes both ways

Teaching others is the best way to learn yourself, says Dino, citing a passion for mentoring up-and-coming talent at Pomeroy Pacific. “Six months ago I hired a new recruit with little experience, and now she’s confidently driving and leading conversations about very complicated works. It gives me great satisfaction that this person is developing their career at a rate of knots because of the way we empower her,” he says.

And the learnings go both ways. “I’m constantly learning from other people who might be younger than me – a lot younger than me. So she can mentor me, which is a pretty interesting way of looking at things. She has a completely different view of the world. She’s growing up in a different time. So there’s the learning.”

Dino says that the greatest satisfaction is seeing people come into work with a smile on their face. “What we do is difficult, but we can still enjoy ourselves. I like to feel like I’ve helped create that environment,” he says.

Understanding the client is key

A healthy curiosity and desire to learn inform Dino’s strategic approach to customer service. Learning the client’s motivations and identifying pain points is fundamental to delivering the right outcome. “You can’t tailor a solution if you don’t understand the problem,” he says.

“So step one is really learning and understanding, then being able to deploy a number of different strategies. And those strategies, I think, are constantly evolving.”

Pomeroy Pacific prides itself on being not just a consultant to its clients, but a partner. “It’s a massive difference. Our partners know that we’re there to represent them, but also to fight for them. Because ultimately, it’s our reputation that is on the line,” Dino says.

Teamwork makes the dream work

The same collaborative approach that Dino and his team apply to client relationships also extends to working alongside contractors.  An example is McKillop House, the four-storey inner Melbourne heritage-listed property on which Pomeroy Pacific is teaming up with Schiavello Construction to complete a comprehensive revitalisation for commercial office space and restaurants, including the addition of three new levels.

“That’s why I love working with Schiavello,” Dino says. “If you’re banging heads with consultants and contractors, it just makes it harder and the outcomes are worse. With Schiavello, we know that if there’s a problem, we pick up the phone and it gets fixed.”