Operations Divisional Office
Stephen Willis – Chief Operating Officer
Stephen has been the Chief Operating Officer for the University of Otago since April 2016.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) Stephen provides strategic leadership, planning and management across the University’s operational functions and capital developments.
Stephen leads a team of Directors responsible for Campus and Collegiate Life Services, Campus Development, Information Technology Services, Property Services, Shared Services, Sustainability, Project Management, Health and Safety Compliance and Risk, Assurance and Compliance Services. The capital programme Stephen’s portfolio is responsible for is circa $1Billon NZ.
Stephen relocated to New Zealand in 2015 for personal and professional reasons and after 8 months as the Manager of Capital Projects was appointed as the COO of the University.
Prior to New Zealand, Stephen had a long history with Mater Health Services Brisbane - one of Australia's largest, oldest and most esteemed health care companies - a privately owned and operated not-for-profit organisation providing healthcare, research and education services.
During his tenure he delivered the largest capital program in the organisation’s history and some of its most strategic projects. Prior to departing Australia Stephen was the senior Director of Built Environment in which he was responsible for a range of diverse departments and services that supported and provided amenity and security for the 7 hospitals, 7,000 plus staff and millions of visitors each year. This involved a $1.3 Billion+ property and asset portfolio over several campuses, a major capital works program of several hundred million dollars and all the ancillary businesses and services typical of major hospital campuses.
Prior to making a move into the world of Capital Works, Property & Support Services, Stephen spent several years working in a number of positions as a Clinical Project Officer, Hospital Nurse Manager and Registered Nurse throughout Australia and overseas, and prior to that served in the Australian Army.
Stephen holds a Master’s Degree in Project Management, a Master’s Degree in Health Science majoring in Health Service Management, an Advanced Diploma in Project Management and a Bachelor of Nursing with Distinction.
In 2013 Stephen was awarded a Commendation Award in Business and Law from the University of Southern Queensland and in 2002 was awarded the Ian Brand Prize from the Australian College of Health Service Executives for achieving the highest grade point average (GPA) in a Masters of Health Services Management in Australia.
Stephen is a Member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand, the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) and is a previous Executive Committee Member of the Australian Healthcare Design Council and previous Board Member of Ronald McDonald House South Brisbane.
Claire Ramsay – Executive Assistant
Claire provides executive assistance to the COO and supports administration of HR, strategy, policy and procedures within the Operations Division. She provides administrative support to the University's Asset Management Committee and other working groups as required.
Claire has worked at the University of Otago since 2007 in various roles and Departments.
Contact Claire if you would like to speak to or make an appointment with the Chief Operating Officer.
Tracy Huntleigh-Smith – Strategic Project Manager
Office of Risk, Assurance and Compliance
Tracy Huntleigh-Smith – Director
Tracy has broad experience in Strategy and Planning from an IT and a wider organisational perspective. As a management consultant in the Dunedin practice of Deloitte, she carried out a number of successful strategy reviews for both local and national clients within the public and private sectors. She also had a significant career within ANZ Banking Group at a national and global level including senior roles which incorporated Operating Risk, IT Planning, Payments Policy, Vendor Relationship Management and Head of Strategy for the Small Business Division.
Office of Sustainability
Ray O'Brien – Head
Ray stepped into the role of Kaiwhakahaere o Tiotū Taiao / Head of Sustainability at the start of 2020.
As the Head of Sustainability, Ray provides leadership and strategic direction for the Sustainability Office. The role involves the linking of activity across operational and academic areas, in order to weave sustainable practice into all that we do. This work is guided by the University’s Sustainability Strategic Framework.
Ray leads a team working on greenhouse gas emissions, student engagement, and communications.
Ray relocated to New Zealand in 2005 from the UK where he had worked for the military developing leadership through adventure activities. Since then he has worked in tourism, primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Most recently, he worked for Otago Polytechnic in a variety of learning design roles where he was responsible for the integration of sustainability into learning and teaching.
Ray holds a range of education qualification including a master’s degree in education. He is currently working towards a Doctorate of Professional Practice.
Health and Safety Compliance Office
Andrea McMillan – Head
Andrea McMillan has a background in workplace health and safety, having worked as a Health and Safety Manager, General Workplace Inspector and Occupational Health Nurse for Cadbury and the Department of Labour, before taking the role of Head of Health and Safety Compliance at Otago in 2001.
University of Otago Project Management Office
Andy Jenkins – Head
Andy is Head of the University of Otago’s Project Management Office (UOPMO). Established in May 2018, UOPMO’s focus is lifting organisation wide P3M3 maturity so as to leverage the opportunities that mature project, programme and portfolio management offers to all University stakeholders. UOPMO’s remit extends across construction, IT and strategic change portfolios.
Andy is one of a handful of individuals in New Zealand that have been independently assessed as achieving P3M3 maturity level 4 and above. Before joining the University of Otago, Andy was the University of Auckland’s enterprise portfolio manager. Andy has also held project roles in a Welsh regional education consortia and a fortune 500 company.
Operations Group of Divisions
David Tapp – Director, Shared Services
David has a strong background managing large-scale complex teams, with a deeply customer-centric orientation, working in both the public and private sectors in New Zealand and Australia. David came to the University after working for 7 years for the Ministry of Justice as the Chief Advisor of Modernisation, as well as being District Court Registrar.
In his role, David is responsible for leading the development and implementation of Shared Services, one that guides the delivery of an outstanding student and staff experience.
The Shared Services portfolio is responsible for administrative support and student experience primarily, but also includes components of finance, human resources, AskOtago and information technology within its ambit.
Tanya Syddall – Director Campus Development
Tanya Syddall is accountable for the strategic planning and delivery of the Strategic Capital Works program – the biggest investment in planning and capital projects in the University’s history.
Tanya has 23 years’ experience in the building engineering and construction industry in Australia and more recently in New Zealand. She has a breadth of knowledge in delivering complex capital projects with extensive experience in the health and education sectors and a passion for developing high performing and collaborative teams.
Tanya has been a client-side Project Manager for a global engineering firm and worked for Mater Health Services Brisbane where she held the role of Director Capital Works responsible for the planning and delivery of Mater’s capital works program over several hospital campuses. Tanya holds a Bachelor of Urban Development majoring in Construction Management from the Queensland University of Technology.
Tanya relocated to New Zealand in February 2019 to lead the project team as Project Director for the University of Otago’s Christchurch Campus Redevelopment Project. In February 2021 Tanya moved to Dunedin with her family to take on her new role as Director of Campus Development.
Dean Macaulay – Director, Property Services
Dean has multi-national experience in facilities management, strategic procurement and maintenance planning. His extensive experience includes managing large teams and diverse property portfolios in high risk environments.
Dean started his role at the University of Otago in 2018, after working in Melbourne as Head of Facilities and Asset Management at United Petroleum. He has long-held a desire to work in the university sector because it offers a wide range of diverse properties and space needs, while asset performance will provide a unique opportunity.
Mike Harte – Director, Information Technology Services
Mike has over 30 years’ experience in the ICT industry across the banking, retail, Local Government and education sectors. Prior to taking on the role of Director, Information Technology Services at the University of Otago in 2005, he was Head of Information Systems at the Dunedin City Council.
As Director of Information Technology Services, Mike is responsible for the effective and efficient provision of Information Technology services to the University and for providing professional, strategic and administrative leadership in the areas of strategy, policy and innovation in the use of ICT to support teaching, research and administration.
James Lindsay – Director, Campus and Collegiate Life Services
As Director of Campus and Collegiate Life Services, James is accountable for leading the University’s extensive accommodation portfolio. His role also includes directing the University’s non-core commercial operations including University Print, the Executive Residence, University Staff Club, and the University Union services, campus retail outlets, food and beverage outlets, conference and events, and hospitality services on campus.
James is responsible for assessing and developing commercial opportunities and strengthening commercial performance through the development of strategic business planning processes. James leads the delivery of the University’s Collegiate and Campus life, and non-core commercial services strategy, and contributes to and maintains oversight of, the implementation and relevance of this strategy across the University.
Jared Hayes – Programme Manager, Enabling Excellence
Jared is Programme Manager for Enabling Excellence and is responsible for the day to day management of the project. He has been seconded from his role as the HR Information System manager where he is responsible for managing the University’s corporate HR systems and HR software development projects. Prior to commencing at the University in 2013, Jared has undertaken a variety of IT roles including project management, business analysis and software development at a number of commercial and government organisations.