After some 17 years, the time has come to farewell our colleague and friend, David Barone, as he leaves the city to embark on a new career in the suburbs.
As Jensen PLUS has grown and evolved so too has David, from his humble beginnings as a young planner when his aspiring talent was recognised by former business owner, Peter Jensen.
“Peter took a punt on me — I came only with local government experience in development approvals and policy planning,” says David.
Jumping from the familiarity of local government and into a consulting role came with trepidation but an opportunity that David grabbed with both hands.
“After accepting the role, I initially had an overwhelming sense of trepidation. I was so uncertain about what consulting really was but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
The opportunity to grow
David says working with Jensen PLUS has afforded him the opportunity to grow as a planning professional and help shape some significant places and spaces across the country.
“Over the years and through the diverse projects I have worked on, I have developed my confidence, refined a rounded skill set as a planning professional and importantly, evolved my capacity and skills as a leader and mentor”.
David has worked on and led a range of projects during his 17 years, each as uniquely interesting as they were challenging — and a challenge isn’t something that David shies away from.
“The Harris Scarfe redevelopment, which ultimately became Rundle Place, was one of my first big projects and a demanding one at that,” says David.
“Working with challenging planning policy and various key stakeholders to deliver a premier retail destination in the heart of Rundle Mall, presented a huge learning curve and plenty of opportunity for my development — and I’m proud of the outcome”.
For almost ten years, David worked on the Castle Plaza Master Plan — a significant development plan amendment that would see the rezoning of the former Hills industrial site.
2000s and career highlights
In the late 2000s, David’s focus turned to back to local government, working with Alexandrina and Barossa councils to navigate complex policy suites and converting development plans to the modernised format.
David then found himself embarking on two significant projects that would become career highlights — U City (pictured) and the Minda Redevelopment including the Brighton Dunes retirement complex.
“The Minda redevelopment is by far the most rewarding project I’ve had the pleasure of working on, not just for the outcome and the demonstrated benefit for the community but for the foresight that went into the development of the master plan,” he says.
“This project was ambitious for an organisation of that scale but it was a huge success. And Jensen PLUS then went on to lead the Minda Coastal Park Redevelopment — another excellent outcome for the community.”
From two community-centred projects, David took on high density developments in The Edge (King William Road) and The Wave (Gilles Street), followed by the Mayfair Hotel, which saw the transformation of a state heritage listed building from offices into premier hotel accommodation.
Refining his craft and developing as a leader
More recently, David has enjoyed immersing himself in significant master planning projects and mentoring colleagues.
“The last few years has really allowed me to develop new skills and hone my strengths,” he says.
“I’ve developed a deep appreciation for master planning processes, particularly the benefits and possibilities of co-design workshops such as those I assisted with in Wagga Wagga and Jindabyne.
“Facilitating workshops for five days straight with up to 60 people in each was challenging — high intensity, high energy but very rewarding.”
David adds, “I’m lucky to have had so many opportunities to expand myself as a professional and develop into a leader — everything that will position me to be successful in my next role.”
The city dweller commutes to the suburbs
David will now return to local government as he takes on the role of Senior Strategic and Policy Planner at City of Marion.
“I’ll be managing and leading development policy reviews and initiatives and associated projects that feed into the council’s strategic planning,” says David.
“I’m looking forward to leveraging the knowledge and skills I’ve developed to make meaningful contributions to major projects such as upcoming land divisions and significant renewal projects — the Morphettville Racecourse will be a huge and unique project to be a part of.”
Though David is excited by his new role, he reflects fondly on his time as part of the Jensen PLUS team.
“I’ll certainly miss the pace of the consulting world, and the unique challenges it offers every day,” shares David.
“This team is like a small family; you’re not just a number and that makes a difference.”
And David certainly leaves big shoes to fill.
“We’ll miss David’s knowledge and technical planning skills,” says Jensen PLUS Director, Michael McKeown.
“He has been an enthusiastic and dedicated part of the team, and his flexibility and willingness to help with whatever needs to be done has been integral to Jensen PLUS delivering exceptional outcomes for clients and communities across Australia.”
Though, no one is perfect.
“One thing I won’t miss is David’s knack of delivering tender submissions and award nominations with just minutes to spare — he certainly got my heart racing but his ability to present articulate and convincing proposals always prevailed.”
“I wish David all the best for his new role, he will be an asset to the City of Marion.”