Malcolm Cleland

Malcolm Cleland - Head of Innovation and Strategic Change: Graduate 2010


Malcolm is tasked with leading the delivery of Transpower’s key change processes to drive operational efficiencies, innovative approaches to the use of technology and partnerships, as well as the ongoing health of Transpower’s Operating Model. 

Malcolm joined Transpower’s Graduate Programme as a mechanical engineer in 2010 and soon transitioned into a role as a project engineer. Early career highlights include involvement in the construction of the Whakamaru to Brownhill Road 400kv transmission line to increase electricity supply and security to Auckland and Northland; and early thinking on the Clutha Upper Waitaki Lines Project, which was completed last year. Since 2014, he has led asset management teams, including roles with both the lines and substation team, as well as being involved in previous innovation challenges and design sprints. 

The benefits of Transpower Graduate Programme 

“I hadn’t considered Transpower initially, given I was trained as a mechanical engineer. Thankfully, at a career expo, a friend guided me over to the Transpower stand. The rest is history. Transpower’s Grad Programme was invaluable to my career development. I was on site regularly with the 400kv project and every day was different. I was surrounded by people with so much experience who were generous to share their knowledge with me. It was a steep, rewarding learning curve.” 

Take advantage of the support available to you 

“If you’re willing to be coached and mentored, and keen to put yourself out there and take on challenges, there are so many opportunities for a diverse career.” 

“I have gladly been guided by some exceptional managers. They have pushed me, encouraged me to be proactive with career progression and at times shown me better ways of working. There are also opportunities to attend leadership and change courses outside of Transpower. Learning from people from other industries and parts of the transmission sector has helped me consider issues and opportunities through different lenses.” 

All jobs have their challenges 

“I know what drives me and what I want to be doing. However, I also appreciated that sometimes you need to read the 100-page documents, keep on top of the paperwork, and diligently follow the process. I always look at ways to derive more value in these aspects of my work and streamline processes where I can.” 

Advice to new graduates and young professionals 

“Say yes to opportunities. Put your hand up for projects big and small and let people know what interests you and the value you can add. I’d also say, put your hand up when you make a mistake and don’t try and hide it. We all make them. The true marker is what you do next. It can hurt but if you have a willingness to learn from it and be solutions focused it goes a long way.” 

“It also helps to understand what your personal drivers are. I like big picture thinking, so get excited about strategy and scenario development, but also very much like getting into the detail on some problems now and then. Variety is important to me and Transpower has enabled me to take on new roles and challenges throughout my career to date. 

Why Malcolm’s proud to work at Transpower 

“Some of the thinking our people do and the technology we implement is world leading. During my time here the business has really evolved by pushing boundaries and considering what the future looks like, but at the same time we’ve constantly improved the overall service we provide.” 

“Being involved in nationally significant and critical projects is a good feeling. And when we strike a problem, everyone gets stuck in, we all want the same thing, and we get there quicker together. I get to work with people who are honest, accountable, and incredibly passionate about what they do. I can get bored easily, so I really appreciate the environment this creates to think outside the box and push for new and improved ways of working.”