Thirty years ago Peter Popas walked into the Gas and Fuel Corporation towers – now the site of Melbourne’s Federation Square – to start his first day at work at the company that would later become AGL.
He was led into a room with no windows, false floors and false ceilings and an enormous mainframe system running the state’s gas online systems…
Peter’s career in tech has almost spanned the life of tech as we now know it.
‘I started off in tech before the internet and PCs were even around,’ he recalls with a laugh.
The Gas and Fuel Corporation Towers, on the site of what would become Federation Square in Melbourne.
Photo: Ian Harrison Hill / State Library of Victoria
Fast-forward three decades
Today, Peter is the IT Supplier Relationship Manager, Enterprise Services – Technology. While a lot has changed in that time, some things are still the same. Early in his career, he organised billing for customers.
‘Much like today, systems needed to be available at all times, and customers needed to be billed for their use,’ he said. ‘Anyone with an issue with their bill would ring up for answers.’
‘Preparing the bills was an important part of the job. They were processed in batches, printed and then sent downstairs to juniors who’d cut them up and package them ready for delivery.
‘We still do exactly the same thing today except we send files to print-houses. A lot has changed, but not much when it comes to the key objectives.
Constant evolution – and endless opportunity
For Peter, those key objectives are still the same – but the way in which we achieve them are not.
‘We pride ourselves on really good contracts, delivery, relationships, stakeholder technology and measuring performance,’ he said.
‘But there are always new challenges. One of the constant things in AGL technology is continuous change – evolving to deliver what our customers, stakeholders and industry are doing.
He said technology had enabled incredible leaps forward.
‘We’ve come from a perception that all we did was record your usage, process it and send you a bill. There’s now so much more we do in the background.
‘There are smart apps that let customers look at their usage and manage it – empowering customers more than ever. There’s so much data that we have now.
‘We’re solving how we can utilise that to provide an enhanced customer experience. How do we differentiate us from our competitors, to offer services that keep us at the leading edge? How do we provide the best possible experience for the customer?’
Like a second family
The evolving technological landscape, the flexibility on offer and the many opportunities to diversify and develop are just some of the reasons Peter loves his job.
But most of all, Peter has appreciated the people he has met along the way – and their support during one of the most difficult times in his life.
Peter’s 10-year-old son Jaidan, who has been diagnosed with a degenerative genetic condition, has had spent multiple months in the Intensive Care Unit over the last two years.
He recalls being flooded with messages of support from colleagues while their son was in intensive care in hospital at Christmas.
‘The genuine support and empathy I’ve received has been really touching and really valued. I’ve been looked after by AGL. The support I received when I came back to work has been heart-warming.’