Stephen McCarthy


Terrain Consulting Group

# Stephen McCarthy

Stephen McCarthy – Terrain Consulting Group - Land Surveyors & Town Planners

We first met Stephen when he formed part of the 1978 Reunion Planning committee. Stephen is one of those guys who works hard at maintaining long time friendships and he still sees a lot of his mates from Marcellin even though they finished 41 years ago, being instrumental in organising annual get togethers.  He has also attended our Business Network events over time.

After completing HSC in 1978, Stephen enrolled to study for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Surveying at RMIT. In 1990 he received his registration from the Surveyors Board of Victoria to practice as a Licensed Land Surveyor.  By legislation, only a licensed land surveyor is permitted to determine the legal property boundaries of a parcel of land.

Stephen has over 30 years experience working as a land surveyor in the development and infrastructure industries. He began as an employee in private practice for about 10 years which was followed by a 6 year stint in Wagga Wagga with the Road Traffic Authority of NSW as a Licensed Surveyor / Survey Manager. Some interesting projects included the replacement of the bridges over the Murray River at Howlong and Robinvale, and the upgrading  of the Hume Freeway through Albury.

In 2000,a town planning mate, Evan Patterson,suggested it might be a good time to be a surveyor in Victoria again with the implementation of new planning regulations requiring the submission of more accurate and reliable data when making development applications.

Stephen, by his own admission, had probably “run his race” in Wagga.  He took what he considers to be his greatest leap of faith by resigning from his position with the RTA and returning to Melbourne.

The first year was not without its challenges. Firstly, his wife Cathy, and children Sarah & Sam (MOC 2007-2012), remained behind in Wagga for a year.

Secondly, his newly formed company, Terrain Consulting Group (TCG), from a surveying viewpoint, had no clients(!) and Stephen left for “work” each morning with a briefcase but no jobs, not unlike Gerald from the movie The Full Monty. (watch it or Google it).  

Terrain had humble beginnings, with Evan and Steve occupying a sweatbox office on Sydney Road Brunswick, which reverberated to the peak hour “doof doof” music of the passing traffic.

His first two jobs ended up being bad debts, however, slowly the business grew through word of mouth. Today TCG has three business partners and employs a further 13 surveying staff, 4 town planners and an office manager, and spans two offices in Kew and Preston.

TCG has a good base of repeat clients and much new work is generated by their word of mouth, and also by an increased digital presence.  One partner, not Steve, is a networking genius.

TCG provides consultancy services to the land development industry including title re-establishment feature and level surveys to assist architects and designers, and all matters affecting certificates of titles - amendments to  dimensions, adverse possession, Owners Corporations, easements,covenants and other restrictions, subdivisions ranging from dual occupancies to multi level apartment tower.  TCG  town planners advise architects and designers about their proposals in relation to planning guidelines and council policies and represent clients at VCAT, both developers and objectors.

TCG’s continued growth and success can be attributed, at least in part, to the following:

* A strong customer focus

* Provision of sound and considered advice

* Timely completion of services.

* A good, stable team of enthusiastic professional - Of course there are always challenges to a business and TCG also has to contend with these.

* Undercutting of fees by competitors. A solution is to offer superior services of a higher quality and value to the client. The better clients recognise value over cost.

* Potential clients wanting to “haggle”. Sometimes they need education, other times you  just have to know when to say No.

* Don't be scared to knock back a job constantly changing Technological demands- keep up or risk being left behind.

* TCG has some excellent tech-savvy staff to evaluate emerging technologies.

* Managing workload, both within the business and individually by maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

* This can be easier said than done.

Stephen attended Marcellin College from 1973 through to 1978, with the first two years spent at the Camberwell campus.

Stephen played footy with the MOCFC for a few years, including the inaugural Under 19s team which tragically, an often misused word but not in this instance, lost the Grand Final to arch rivals Bulleen Templestowe by one point. He also enjoyed a couple of seasons with the Marcellin Old Collegians Cricket Club in the mid 1980’s.

**The Fun Facts:**

1. Nickname:  Macca

2. Favourite Subject:  Maths

3. Favourite destination:  New York

4. Favourite TV show: Cannot split Get Smart, M**A**S*H and Seinfeld

5.   Favourite canteen food:  Jiffy Donuts

6. Teacher you remember:  Brother Crispin

7. Favourite singer:  Bruce Springsteen

8. AFL Team:  Western Bulldogs

9. Which car:  Not much of a petrolhead so pretty comfortable with my Subaru Forrester

10. Worst school rule: At Canterbury your height determined whether you got to wear long trousers in winter. Apparently I was not tall enough-never wore shorts to school again.

11. Dog or cat: Dog

12. Who do you still see from Marcellin: Peter Dowling, Adrian Collins, Andrew Cullinan, Mark Tierney…and apologies to many others! You know who you are.

13. Best memories: School Camps, The 1977 Marist Cricket Carnival trip to Perth…we weren’t a great team, but we had a lot of fun. Our best work was done after stumps.

14. Famous person you would like to meet: Clint Eastwood or Barbara Feldon (Agent 99 from Get Smart)

15. Who from your year would be most likely to appear on “The Bachelor” : After much soul searching I offer the names of, and apologise to, Gerard Price and Pete Maloney!!

Prue O'ShannessyComment