Vice President/US ERP Integration Lead, WSP, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Information Systems
Ann Merrick’s career has seen her leading project control teams for construction and engineering projects on three different continents. Originally from Australia, she has been based in the US since 2018 and is currently vice president and US ERP integration lead for global engineering firm WSP; a role she thoroughly enjoys.
“I love that I get to interact with different levels of people from across my business; not just within the US but globally. I enjoy being able to help shape the future direction of the business with the rollout of a new enterprise resource planning tool that will simplify and improve the processes for all 15,000+ US employees.
“Some of the career highlights I’m particularly proud of include establishing and growing a project control team in Australia from two people to 27 people, and moving to the US and taking on the role of national director of project controls. This involved transforming the structure of the team and continuing to grow the practice across the US. Most recently, I started the role of US ERP integration lead, which offers a completely new challenge for me.”
A little earlier in her career, in 2013, her job also took her to New Zealand where she was seconded to work on Auckland’s Waterview Tunnel project for five years. As if a new role in a different country wasn’t a big enough challenge, Ann also decided to use the time to take on university study.
“I was working as a project controls manager, and I decided to go to university while I was in Auckland. I chose a Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Information Systems because the combination of accounting and technology was very applicable to the day-to-day activities I undertook as a project controls manager. My decision to go to AUT was predominantly due to flexible class schedules that allowed me to continue working while undertaking a full-time course load.”
She still has fond memories of her time at AUT, says Ann who graduated with her Bachelor of Business in 2016 and is proud of completing the degree in two and a half years, despite working 22 hours a week on top of her studies.
“One of the highlights was making friends of various ages from so many different backgrounds who I wouldn’t have met without going to university. Even as a mature student, I had lots of fun and even skipped the odd lecture to have drinks. It was so much fun and I have fond memories of everybody I met during my time at AUT.”
Ann admits she was initially somewhat apprehensive about attending university, but she soon found herself thriving.
“My lightbulb moment was when I started getting high marks on my assignments and exams. I had been scared to go to university as I had low self-esteem when it came to my own ability to learn in a formal setting. I hated high school. Once I started at AUT, I realised that I was smart enough and perhaps it was the method of teaching in high school that didn’t work for me. I also think being more mature and able to apply real-life situations to what I was learning helped me.”
Advice for other students
Ann’s advice for other students is simple: you can achieve anything that you set your mind to.
“The only thing holding you back is you – don’t blame others for your situation; take responsibility and change it. You can’t regret something you haven’t done. I’d rather take a risk and regret it than think ‘What if?’ for the rest of my life.”
It's never too late for university study, she adds.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t go to university straight out of high school. Go when you’re ready and have a better idea of what you want to be when you grow up. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I recognise that it would have been harder for me to continue growing my career in my industry without a degree.”