Old friend joins Arche to make new connections

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Mark Phillips has joined the Arche team to build new opportunities for us. 

Mark has been running his own consulting business since 2013 and reconnected with his old colleague Andrew Murdoch late last year. He had great experiences working with Andrew, as well as Sarah and Peter, at WSP Australia in the late aughts and early teens. 

“Reconnecting with Andrew was great timing — we had both started our own consultancies and spotted a perfect chance to collaborate.”

Approaching new connections for a team that is extremely well-connected in our core business of energy, Mark’s approach to supporting Arche’s growth is to explore avenues for our services that transfer naturally to projects in other sectors and value chains.

These sectors might include broader areas of infrastructure such as water, waste, transport and industrial.

“Being your own boss comes with a lot of responsibility, but the payoff is flexibility and a greater ability to achieve extraordinary things.” 

With several strings to his bow but no traditional employment where he could play them all at once, Mark decided to create his own opportunities. He founded Marelius as a way to bring like minded people together, creating great teams who can deliver exciting solutions and strategies.

Now with a small team behind him, Mark provides business development, bid management, procurement, strategy and business case development, and facilitation and coaching — services that represent all areas of his skillset.

“We match the right skills to the right task.”

With many of the very large and even megaprojects in the works these days, there is a particular need for boutique consultancies like Arche and Marelius. 

“Major projects are by their nature incredibly complex,” Mark said. “There are almost infinite interdependencies between disciplines as well as timelines, communication lines, supply chain issues and so on.”

“This is where us smaller consultants have some advantages.”

“The responsiveness of a business like Arche is unmatched. The boutiques have the agility to get essential project elements over the line, which enables an often high-stakes overall critical path to be maintained.”    

We empower our people to utilise the full breadth of their skills. 

It’s one of Arche’s biggest value adds. Where a larger organisation might insist that staff stay within pre-defined role descriptions, we encourage our team members to flex all of their mental muscles. 

While we can offer all the necessary skills for a complex project, at this point in our evolution we have to be strategic about which clients and projects we take on. 

The plus side is that Arche can take the time to get to know each client and project. We work to uncover the best solution for each specific context and dig out more opportunities for innovation or efficiencies. Missing these can be the biggest pitfall of leaning on a business-as-usual, cookie-cutter approach. 

To do this effectively, a key skill is listening. As a licensed coach, Mark is literally a professionally trained listener. 

“Coaching is also a lot about challenging a client’s status quo.”

Often clients will seek out consultants to progress a pre-selected concept. Challenging their assumptions about what solution is best is hugely impactful. 

“It’s important to challenge them about whether what they’re asking for is best for them and their stakeholders,” Mark says. 

“Is their pre-conceived solution the best or can I lead them to a better way to do it?”

Coaching and business development intersect at facilitating connections and partnerships. 

That’s what Mark will be bringing to Arche this year: new connections.

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