Ben Lawson is a fifth generation local government engineer (a fascinating newspaper article featuring his great, great grandfather is attached... the bridge is still standing!). 


He established Common Thread Consulting in 2015 after 20 years working in mostly rural and regional councils.  His career grew organically, giving him time to gather a diverse array of skills and experience he now draws on as a consultant (see Linkedin for details):

  • from a grounding in survey and design

  • to management of maintenance operations and construction projects 

  • to general management of a business (including marketing, sales, finance, HR and governance) delivering services to the community and open market customers

  • to a director responsible for community and economic development as well as engineering (including a 3 month appointment by council as General Manager)

  • to strategic planning and community engagement regarding the allocation of council's limited resources across all activities (not just infrastructure) 

  • to council collaboration on a regional basis.

Despite his solid practical and technical background, Ben is often told he's "not like most engineers".  He has a strong conviction about the importance of narrative ('telling a story') as the driver of everything a council does.  This is the 'common thread' that binds together his innovative approach to Integrated Planning and Reporting. 

Ben is happy to put you in touch with relevant clients to check his references.

He and his family still live in Coffs Harbour, NSW, but he travels to clients as required.


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Ben often works with associates (generally the Director of their own individual consultancy businesses) to supplement his own skills and/or help deliver larger projects.  For further details, check out their profiles on Linkedin.

Chris Stratten

HR and Org. Development

Chris is the Director of Quadrant Management Systems.  He has an extensive background in operational and human resource management in both public and private sectors.  His passion is assisting organisations achieve sustainability through change management processes, but he also has a wealth of knowledge about practical HR systems and processes, too.

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David Gourlay

Culture and Leadership

David is the Director of Ausco Consulting.  He is a business psychologist with experience in the UK and Australia with councils as well as energy and infrastructure markets.  He specialises in supporting organisations to improve by developing productive leadership and relationships that are underpinned by well-designed systems, processes and structure.

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Ludwig Kraayenbrink
Alan Rushbrook

Information Technology

Financial Governance

Ludwig is the Director of Ludwig Kraayenbrink Consulting.  After 35 years in local government in IT, Corporate and Strategic Management roles Ludwig now consults primarily in IT including reviews of ICT Business Units and associated services, developing functional specifications for new products and assisting in tender assessments and reviews. 

Alan is the Director of Utintja Consulting.  He is a CPA with extensive experience in local government.  His specialties include providing offsite CFO services and providing advice on business improvement and financial governance.  His passion (reflected in his business name) is to make things clear and help people to learn and understand.

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John Comrie

Financial Strategy

John is the Director of JAC Comrie.  He is the former head of SA office of State/Local Govt. relations and the LGA of SA. His consulting interests include infrastructure accounting, rating, long term financial planning and the role and use of debt. He delivers training on these issues and has written publications for ACELG, LGNSW, the Independent Local Govt. Review Panel and IPWEA. 

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Steve Thompson

Planning and Strategy

Steve is a Director of Locale Consulting.  He is a qualified town planner with experience in strategy, policy development, business and urban planning, economic development, recreation and design as well as traditional development planning.  He is also accredited in community engagement with the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).

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Karen Legge

Planning and Engagement

Karen is the Director of Karen Legge Consulting.  Over a decade with Office of Local Government, she developed extensive skills in state & local govt. relations, stakeholder engagement and business improvement. She is a recognised expert in Integrated Planning and Reporting with a passion for building capability  via professional development as well as mentoring and coaching.

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Greg Miller

Engineering and Projects 

Greg is the Director of CLM Civil.  He has 30 years of experience in local government including investigation, design, contract and project management as well as asset management planning.  He has extensive experience and a good track record for writing grants for infrastructure projects. 

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Nic Dodd

Engineering and Projects

Nic is a Partner at Dodd Civil Consultancy.  He has an extensive background in many aspects of civil construction as well as survey, design and project management.  He has experience in both public and private sectors.

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