If ever there was a man whose career was determined by one material, that man was John Hasker AM, who graduated in Civil Engineering in 1960, and followed his father into a career built on concrete. John enjoyed watching the expanding importance and versatility of concrete, and witnessed its arrival as the building material of choice, supplanting bricks and mortar.
Involved with athletics at University, John was also a State and National level sportsman, who won a Victorian title in high hurdles and captained Victoria at athletics from 1961-2. His proudest sporting moment was being selected for the squad for the Perth Empire Games in 1962 – the same year he enrolled for the part time Diploma of Town and Country Planning, turning up for night classes in “what you’ve just demolished”. In 1965, he married Jenny who had been a Miss Ag Science and Social Studies in the Miss University Quest.
John’s first job out of University was in the industrial design company Dorman’s. “We were principals in some big engineering projects but just going to work wasn’t enough for me so I enrolled in the fledgling school of Planning. My three years of part-time study in the Faculty with Fred Ledgar was a real turning point for me, and started my lifelong interest in the landscape.”
John worked for and ended up running Australia’s most successful concrete innovators ARC Engineering Pty Ltd. He says, with tongue in cheek, that the arrival of metrication saw him a genius one day and a dunce the next, and encouraged him to move into marketing and promotions. John was even briefly a teacher, lecturing in concrete technology in ABP during the 1970s.
While structural design was his first love, John also had management acumen. His career took him into leadership of the pharmaceutical giant Faulding, followed by ICI and then Kemtron, which included the major contractor Hooker Cockram and Prentice. In retirement, John has been involved in over 30 Boards, and chaired many including Aurora Energy, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, and Melbourne Grammar. He currently chairs the Board for Seafood Industry Victoria, proving that a degree from ABP can take you anywhere at all.
In an interesting twist, John was for many years involved with the buildings committee at Melbourne Grammar, and helped to select a design by John Wardle Architects for the Nigel Peck Centre for Learning and Leadership, a building which went on to win many awards. Touring our new building site in November 2013, John was thrilled to see some of the same design innovation at work here at his alma mater. “(The) work is so impressive and refreshing. The new ABP building is an iconic building that will reflect well on the profession and motivate all students that study therein.”