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More than an 'IT guy'

Words Robyn May | Photo provided

When Cape York NRM’s Systems Analyst and Program Support Officer Ben Lister isn’t busy turning data into knowledge, he’s training for triathlons and perfecting the art of roasting – and consuming – coffee.

Ben’s role involves developing data collection and storage systems that support decision making for the organisation and Cape York land managers.

Ben can quickly turn data into knowledge, such as analysing the number of hits on a particular page has on the Cape York NRM website. This leads to the identification of the area on the website people are most interested in so the organisation can ensure it is effectively communicating with stakeholders and the wider community.

‘I have an analytical mind and way of looking at information differently,’ Ben said, ‘To me, data is not only useful, but is interesting.’

‘I like making people’s lives easier through the use of smart systems and technology.’

Ben grew up in Cairns and after graduating from Cairns High went straight into the workforce selling and repairing computers. From there he moved into a video production role which lead to his starting a Bachelor of Multimedia Studies at Central Queensland University.

While he found the course interesting he realised Information Technology (IT) was his real passion and would deliver a solid career.

Ben joined Cape York NRM in 2014 and shortly afterwards enrolled in a Bachelor of Information Technology degree through the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).

CEO John Gavin said Ben is a valued employee.

‘Ben’s work supports all our projects and has delivered real benefits to land managers across the Cape through simplifying the collection of information for project reporting.’

Out of work hours Ben pursues his other passions.

He trains daily—swimming, cycling and running, is a regular entrant in triathlons and has recently completed his first Half Ironman competition which was held in Cairns in June 2019.

‘Exercise is an important aspect of my life as it helps me to stay sharp at work. I find that it really boosts my productivity.’

Besides keeping fit, Ben likes to indulge in a wide range of hobbies, including roasting (and drinking) coffee, photography, videography, cooking, travel and camping.

Ben is happy balancing his passion for IT with his other pursuits, and is looking forward to what the future brings.

‘I think Information Technology is such an important area of Natural Resource Management. It will be exciting to see how IT allows for innovation and efficiencies in the future. I can’t wait to be a part of that innovation.’

‘And I plan to continue triathlon training and entering events.’

Ben is so much more than the ‘IT guy’.