Matt Copland

Matt Copland - Grid and System Operations Manager: Graduate 2002

Matt Copland

Matt is Transpower’s Grid and System Operations Manager. He manages the 24/7 Operations functions – including Transpower’s System Operator National Control Centres in Hamilton and Wellington and our Grid Owner National Grid Operating Centres in Christchurch and Auckland. 

Matt joined Transpower in 2002 through our Graduate Programme as a Transmission Line Engineer. He has been involved in projects from concept through to delivery and most notably was a member of the North Island Grid Upgrade Project as a design and then stringing engineer.  

In 2017, he moved to the Operations Division where he took on the role of System Operator Power Systems Manager.  He has led the team in support customer connections and identifying and managing system risk.  Recently, Matt led the Future Security and Resilience work with the Electricity Authority. 

The benefits of Transpower Graduate Programme 

“I was in my final year at the University of Canterbury studying mechanical engineering when Transpower caught my eye. I was lucky to squeeze in at the time, and I’ve made the most of that luck ever since.” 

“Through my time as a grad and through other secondment opportunities I was exposed to many parts of the business early on. Engaging with consultants, service providers, and suppliers really propelled me. I was fortunate to have had a lot of hands-on experience at times too, including changing insulators and climbing towers for sagging work. I even spent time on a transmission building project in Western Australia.” 

“Being involved in projects with a different hat on – from drawing maps in planning through to visiting international suppliers to test insulators, towers, and conductors in the delivery space – gave me an appreciation for the collaboration and intention required to successfully deliver a large-scale infrastructure project. 

“At the time it felt like a lot of responsibility, especially when I travelled internationally or worked in the field running a small crew of engineers and field staff, but I have always been well supported.” 

Building relationships builds opportunity 

“Positive relationships with managers and mentors have been beneficial. I have learned a lot from many talented individuals. Gaining the trust of various managers along the way through working smart and showing willingness, has also helped me get involved in more strategic aspects of the business and attend cross-sector leadership courses.” 

“Now I’m considering relationship building from a leader’s perspective. At one point in my career, I realised the need to work on my people skills if I wanted to effectively lead people. Emotional intelligence is something I continue to work on. We all bring our own stories to work and have our own unique drivers, and it’s important to factor all that in.” 

Advice to new graduates and young professionals 

“Get stuck in and try new things. Build relationships. Listen. When you find an organisation with a culture that resonates with your own values, that’s a special thing. There will be knock backs along the way – promotions you don’t get, pieces of work you want to get your hands on but don’t, relationships that are challenging - but just keep showing up, let lessons sink in, back yourself, and don’t give up on your aspirations.” 

Why Matt’s proud to work at Transpower 

“At Transpower I get to do what I love. It’s a welcoming, collaborative, supportive environment. Everyone here feels proud of the good we provide New Zealand.” “There are opportunities for people to do excellent work. We are at the centre of the electricity sector – feeding power from generators to local lines companies for communities, and direct to larger industrial customers. We’re also part of a sector about to embark on a massive transition as electrification gears up. Being at the forefront of work that will benefit our country now and into the future is meaningful.”