Giving back to the construction industry: Excellence in Mentorship

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Denzel Maduray

When Denzel Maduray advises learners about choosing a career path in project and construction management, he does not mince his words.

“Plans are important but planning is everything. This was from Eisenhower. My advice is if you are not passionate about communication, integrating teams and engaging stakeholders then stay out of project and construction management. PCM takes dedication, time and effort and it is sometimes a thankless job without instant gratification,” says this successful construction manager who is currently employed at Aurecon.
Maduray exudes passion for the Construction Management profession and has taken the bold and selfless step to becoming a professional construction mentor. With such wisdom, Denzel is bound to empower candidates and emerging construction managers and there is no doubt that he does this with gusto.
“I would like to be known as the ‘practical project manager’ that gave back to the profession. I believe in the law of aggregation, the more people I share my knowledge and experience with, ultimately will result in a win for the profession. As a country we have the propensity to overcome challenges through dialogue and team work which are the key ingredients of good project management. I would like to be remembered as someone that has played a small part in this work,” says Maduray.
His path too has by no means been an easy one.
“Given the maturity of the project management profession, there were very few opportunities for structured mentorship from real project management professionals. I chose to register as a candidate and then submit a professional registration application after two years. During this time, planning my experiential training was key to obtaining my professional credentials. The support from the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) was also beneficial in submitting the proper documentation for evaluation.
This was a great experience and it was excellent to be rewarded for undertaking project management in a professional capacity. The Project Management profession is under-rated in the South African context and the establishment of the SACPCMP has given project managers a platform to acquire a credential and to step out of the shadows from the engineering profession which has dominated the South African built environment,” he says.

The success of this individual is reflected in his ability and willingness to network and to share knowledge and lessons learnt. In the Construction Management profession, this is virtually obligatory.
“I started working on site as a site agent and gradually worked my way up to leading both construction and consulting projects. My special passion is leading and directing multi-disciplinary project teams and seeing the integrated effort paying off with a successful product/service/result. Most notably was the Gauteng Department of Education, 16 Schools project and I was the PMO manager as well as the regional project manager for the East Rand,” says an enthusiastic Maduray.
Where did the dream start? What were the driving forces? Maduray remembers fondly his teacher of English at Westcliff Secondary School in Chatsworth, Mr. K Pillay. In 1993, South Africa was poised on a new order and insecurities defined his matric year. However, Mr. Pillay diffused these fears by “opening up” their minds and reminding them about struggle stalwarts such as Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and Pravin Gordhan. This gave the young man and his friends tools to deal with this potentially threatening situation.
Then there was his father who had a solid work ethic. Having worked for the Durban Metro for 41 years, his dad hardly absented himself from work and Maduray inherited this from his dad thankfully. “My dad is my inspiration and the pride he had after I graduated from school with honours gave me the will to give my career the very best efforts.
My role models and mentors are people I work with every day. I draw inspiration from their experience, attitude, aptitude and work ethic,” reflects Maduray.

Maduray describes himself as a family man who enjoys spending time with his wife and mentee, Ramona, and their children Colby and Robyn.

Famous Director Steven Speilberg said, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”
It is clear that Denzel Maduray epitomises the works of this great man when he assimilates mentoring as part of his work and duty to “give back” to the profession and to society as a whole.

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