The UPco team is made up of all sorts of characters, and every one of them has a story. Here’s just one of them.

What’s your name, and your role at UPco?

Madison Harvey, and I’m a Senior Planner.

Why did you become a planner?

I got into planning because I wanted to do something to help make the world a better place. There are so many ways we can improve our lives through thoughtful, considered design and good planning… it doesn’t all happen by accident. I’m particularly passionate about embedding sustainability into the world around us. Planning can help achieve great social and economic outcomes, too.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you do?

I always loved the idea of being a lawyer – working in some high powered office wearing great clothes, going to court and fighting the good fight! Possibly I have been inspired by watching Suits and the Good Wife!

How do you spend your time off-duty?

On weekends I like to get back to nature, whether it’s hiking or going camping. I recently went to Wilsons Promontory National Park and did the Southern Circuit, which is a two-night hike that takes you in a big circle. It’s 25 km the first day, and 15 km the second, and you’re walking along the edge of the water the whole way, so it’s really beautiful. I love travelling too – I’ve always got something planned.

Where’s the next destination on your list?

I’m hoping to do the Overland Track in Tassie next year. And I have a trip to Bali on the cards (like everyone in our office right now, or so it seems). If I could go anywhere in the world, it’d probably be Italy. I’d just eat cheese and pizza and sit on a beach, and be very happy.

What’s your favourite place in Melbourne?

I grew up in Elwood, and that’s still my favourite place. It’s such a cute little village, everyone knows everyone, and it’s close to everything: the beach, parks, the city. It’s also a great place to go dog watching. I don’t have a dog (yet – I will one day) but I love watching all the different dogs in the neighbourhood out and about.

What do you like most about your job?

Day to day, there’s a lot of problem solving, and I like the variety – no two days are the same. In our job you also actually get outcomes, which is a good feeling. The way that buildings are designed and built makes such a difference to our lives, even in ways we might not be conscious of. I like playing a part in that process; having the opportunity to help build the kind of environment I want to live in.

What’s your secret superpower?

I’m pretty good at reading people and getting a vibe of a situation, which comes in handy in lots of ways!

What were you like when you were a kid?

I was pretty much the same as I am now – I’ve just grown into the adult version! I was a pretty confident kid, but always fairly quiet, and that hasn’t changed. As the oldest child in my family, I also had to figure everything out for myself, so I’m used to having no road map to follow!

What are you currently watching, reading and / or listening to?

Right now, I’m listening to the new Gretta Ray album, Positive Spin. I’ve just finished a really good book, too, which is called Psalm for the Wild-Built, by Becky Chambers. It’s a short novella, and it’s set in a futuristic world where everyone has all the things they want – but they’re still not satisfied. The story follows a tea monk and a robot who together try to figure out the purpose of life. It’s got some great themes and I found it very uplifting.

Finally, is there a motto you live by?

I stick to the motto that ‘a quick decision is a good decision’ – in most things anyway! In general I believe in making the call and going for it. Sitting back and hesitating or overthinking means you can miss opportunities. And whatever decision you make, you can find a way to deal with it so things work out.