Danny Agnello has been familiar with Manteena construction sites since he was a young child in the early 90s. By the age of around 14, the up-and-coming soccer prospect was cleaning sites during school holidays and on weekends.
While it may seem a natural progression for Danny to follow in his father and brother’s footsteps, this wasn’t always the intention.
How did you initially end up at Manteena?
As a kid I had been around Manteena sites and worked on and off during school holidays and weekends but it wasn’t a specific plan for me. I had been playing soccer at a representative level from about 14 and had been scouted and taken over to trial for Leeds in 1999 and then Bayern Munich a year later. We made the decision that I would stay in Australia to finish year 11 and 12, keep training with the ACT Academy of Sport and see where it went after. Unfortunately I had a car accident that changed the course a bit, even though I made the Australian School Boys team at the age of 18 and toured with them, my body just couldn’t take it anymore.
After finishing year 12, dad (Lou Agnello) asked me what I wanted to do and offered me a labouring gig at Manteena until I figured it out. In March 2002 I started as a Cadet Project Administrator through CITEA and finished that 4 years later. From there I moved on to Project Administration for Alex Luddington and Andrew Kemp, before delivering my first project as a Project Manager in 2006 (NLA offsite storage).
In 2016 I moved over to the newly established Manteena Residential as a Project Manager, became Operations Manager shortly after and here we are.
Why Construction Management/Project Management?
I’ve been around construction all my life so it makes sense. I had considered architecture for a while but my career path changed as I got older. It just ended up that way, I was a labourer on site at UC while I worked out what I wanted to do, and I never left.
What is it like to work at Manteena?
I would say we are honest and fair in everything we do. I’ve been here for almost 22 years and a lot has changed in that time. We’ve grown, we don’t just work in Canberra anymore and the great culture has continued to get better and better.
We were lucky to have had 30 people when I started, and it was very much a small, family-run business. Now we are 130+ and based across four different businesses.
Did you always think this was an area you would end up working in?
Who knows. My whole life would be different if I ended up going over to Europe. I wouldn’t have met my wife or had my four kids so that trajectory could have changed everything.
What would you tell anyone considering a career in Project Management/Construction space?
It’s tough but it’s rewarding. You need to be able to deal with stress and communicate with everyone if you want to do well.
It’s a very diverse industry and you are never really doing the same thing twice so if you don’t like repetitive tasks it is an industry to consider.