Where are they now – Steve Allen (SPC 1997-2002)
June 22, 2022
The College recently reconnected with Old Collegian Steve Allen (SPC 1997-2002) who we look forward to seeing on a regular basis as the project manager for the College’s exciting new state-of-the-art Performing Arts precinct, which is beginning to take shape in Wanliss Street. Steve shares his interesting pathway to where he is now and some of his fondest memories of his time at SPC.
Where has life taken you since leaving SPC?
Upon graduating from SPC in 2002, I enrolled at the University of Ballarat (now Fed Uni) in secondary school teaching with a major in Maths and a minor in Physics. Something that I’m sure a number of my former teachers would find relatively amusing given I was certainly not the greatest of students.
After studying for a year. it was clear that, while I enjoyed the content of the course, I was more suited to ‘learning by doing’.
It was for this reason that at the end of 2003 I opted not to go back to university and instead, decided to head out into the workforce. In 2005 I commenced a carpentry apprenticeship with a domestic home builder in Ballarat. In November of 2006, my then employer accepted a role as Site Manager with Nicholson Construction (NC) and I came across to finish my apprenticeship.
In 2009 one of the owners and Directors of NC, Dean Stevens, signed my apprenticeship off 12 months early and I began running projects as a Site Manager.
In 2013 I was offered and accepted the role of Project Manager and began to take overall responsibility for multiple commercial construction projects up to $25m in value.
In 2018 I joined Dean Stevens and Richard Nicholson as Directors of the company, a company that has been in existence since 1881 and has seen four generations of the Nicholson family.
This year I became owner of our company along with Dean, Richard and fellow Director Paul Toye.
In 2011, I married my long-term partner and beautiful wife, Mell. Mell is a graduate of Loreto College and a gun netballer for Lake Wendouree.
In 2014 we became aware that we would have to undertake IVF in our pursuit of starting our own family. Fortunately for us, on our very first attempt we conceived our beautiful little girl Evie who is now 7 (going on 17). After having Evie we tried for three years and 15 IVF cycles before we conceived our son Charlie (3). IVF is an incredibly intrusive process and one that took a huge emotional and physical toll on Mell. No doubt we would not have had Charlie were it not for Mell’s incredible willpower and determination. In 2021 we welcomed our third addition Jimmy (1) who was also conceived through IVF. We will be forever indebted to Dr Jospeh Sgroi and the team at Melbourne IVF.
Can you please tell us more about your work involving SPC at the moment and what this experience is like?
Our company has been awarded the contract to construct the new ‘state of the art’ performing arts building off Wanliss street. To be able to make a positive impact on the experience of future SPC students is one I am incredibly proud of, particularly given the positive impact the College had on me. As Project Director for this project, I will have the opportunity to support our project team in the successful delivery of this project and work with fellow Old Collegian Luke Jarvis. Luke is the Associate Principal of John Wardle Architects, the architects and lead design consultants for the performing arts building.
Do you have family ties with SPC?
All three of my brothers attended and graduated from SPC.
Michael (SPC 1995-2000)
Chris (SPC 1999-2004)
Matthew (SPC 2001-06)
My brother-in-law and SPC Old Collegian, Brendon Gilbert (SPC 1998-2003), is the current Head of Boarding for SPC.
What are your fondest memories of your time at St Patrick’s College?
SPC has changed remarkably in its offering since I left in 2002. The infrastructure and facilities have improved tremendously and continue to do so. My fondest memory of my time at SPC are the relationships I was able to form with guys that I am privileged to still call mates. These relationships have been, and continue to be, a significant part of my life. These relationships have been part of my life for over 25 years and at 37 years of age it’s hard to imagine them not being equally as important for the next 25 years.
Which teacher from your time at SPC had the greatest impact on you? Why?
Interestingly enough, the teacher who had the greatest impact on me was a teacher who didn’t teach me in a classroom nor did he ever coach me in football. Howard Clark presented to our Year 9 class on an occasion and spoke of his challenges with his health. Howard conveyed an openness around his challenges and a certain vulnerability. Not a physical vulnerability but rather a vulnerability which demonstrated that it’s ok to acknowledge your limits. Howard’s willingness to do so, demonstrated to me what authentic leadership looks like and continues to sit with me even to this day. His positivity, even in the presence of adversity, is something I admire. I caught up with Howard very recently, albeit briefly, and as always it was a joy.
How has your education shaped your professional life?
I openly admit that I was not a great student and did not learn well in a classroom environment. I need to learn by doing. Despite having significant potential and not being a great student, I recall a number of teachers tirelessly and patiently working with me to allow me to get the best I could from my education. Teachers like Mike Brady, Kelvin Porter and Barry Homewood earnt respect through the development of relationships and trust with students. Something that is just as important in business.
How has your time at SPC shaped your personal values and your family life?
I’ve always held my family and friends very close. SPC seems to breed incredibly strong relationships between students and mates. I’ve continued to carry this throughout my life after SPC.
If you could pass on one message to the students of today, what would it be?
Enjoy your time at St Pats! It wasn’t until I’d left that I realised just how enjoyable that part of my life was. The relationships you develop can carry you through the best and hardest moments so hold onto them.