Meet The Team

Over the past few years, we’ve made a concerted effort to build a strong design team with passionate, energetic, and creative members to help grow our integrated design and building company from the ground up. The team we have assembled is beyond my wildest ambitions, and I feel truly privileged to have all of them on board. It’s an incredibly diverse team, with mix of young enthusiastic designers, brimming with big ideas and boundless energy, along with highly accomplished architects who’ve worked at some of the top firms in the country, including Welsh + Major, PopovBass, Andrew Burges and Architectus Australia. Not to mention our highly experienced and committed construction team. While diverse, they are incredibly close and very much aligned in the notion that we’re here to try something different, with vision of a better future. I am very proud of our team and what we have achieved in a short period of time, and I’m constantly blown away by their talent and the quality of the work we’ve produced. Here they are.

Mat Wilk, Director

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Peter Maxwell, Head of Architecture

Creative and caring, Peter works closely with clients to help them design their dream home — from guiding them through council approvals to creating functional, energy-efficient buildings. With a Master of Architecture from The University of Sydney, he has worked as a senior architect for some exceptional practices, including Andrew Burges Architects and a 10-year stint at PopovBass Architects. His previous projects include the award-winning Griffiths Teas warehouse conversion in Surry Hills. Another, which entailed repurposing two heritage buildings into a new home, featured on the TV series Restoration Australia (Season 3, Episode 8). Outside work, he enjoys singing in choirs, driving Italian cars, jogging with his dog Sunny Boy, hiking through mountains and attempts at sailing.

Stephanie-Dodd

Stephanie Kennedy, Architectural Assistant

With a background as an intelligence analyst, Stephanie provides a unique perspective on design, planning constraints and strategy. She supports every facet of design and helps ensure the management process is as painless as possible for clients. She has a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from The University of Sydney, where she won the Leslie Wilkinson Prize for Architectural History and Theory in 2019. While at university, she also helped design and build a school for a community in Vanuatu after it was devastated by Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015. In her spare time, she loves working on other creative projects, including sewing and photography, running and bushwalking.

Kristina-Arutyunova

Kristina Arutyunova, Architectural Designer

Kristina is a powerhouse of organisation and a force to be reckoned with. She brilliantly balances stunning interiors and with the practical needs of her clients and thinks through every minute detail to provide a stunning and practical space every time. She has a finely honed colour and texture palette and masterfully uses 3D renders to give clients a glimpse into their potential new home. Kristina has a Master of Architecture from the University Architecture & Civil Engineering in Russia and a Master of Interior Design from Raffles College of Design and Commerce in Sydney. She has previously worked an architectural at PopovBass Architects and was part of a team that won an Interior Fitout Award for Westfield’s shopping centres in NSW. “At Ballast Point people look for non-standard way to solve problems, which matches with my design approach,” she says. “I like that the team at Ballast Point primarily focuses on the client’s needs, rather than its own pride. I like working with down to earth people, who are doing a good job and enjoying it.” Outside work, she plays tennis, scuba dives and is learning to speak Italian.

Tom-Mitchell

Tom Mitchell-Taverner, General Manager

In joining Ballast Point, Tom returned to his roots, having originally qualified as an architect in Melbourne in 2000. He worked for a range of industrial, residential and commercial firms before heading to the UK as quality assurance manager for a leading transport architecture company, which saw him work on iconic projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5, Kings Cross St Pancras, the London Underground, as well as a secondment to the United Arab Emirates to work on the Abi Dhabi International Airport. On returning to Australia, Tom joined the family business, gaining experience in market research and business administration. Itching for something more progressive, he formed a joint venture with www.cint.com to bring a new digital insight platform to Australia, exiting after 10 successful years as CEO of the Australian operation. When Tom met Mat in the Antler entrepreneurial program in 2021, working at Ballast Point seemed like a natural full-circle transition. Tom’s role has since been invaluable in shaping the company, including effective hiring and organising the business and solving compliance issues. There is no doubt the business has accelerated upon his arrival, and he loves being back in an industry he loves – helping create amazing homes for amazing people. When not at work, Tom has a passion for Indigenous archaeology, Aussie rules, the outdoors, and laughing with his two young daughters.

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Jeannie Chan, Architectural Assistant

In her final year studying a Bachelor of Architecture at UNSW, Jeannie’s role includes assisting the architects in drafting and ArchiCAD, conducting contextual research and preparing DAs for client projects. She won the 2019 UNSW Global Academic Award Scholarship and the 2019 Design Exhibition Excellence in Design Studio. Jeannie loves Ballast Point’s culture of continuous learning and improvement, and how the team is always open to new ideas and finding better ways of doing things. Before the pandemic, she enjoyed playing team sports, including field hockey. Since COVID-19 hit, she has taken up gardening and learning about permaculture design principles during lockdowns.

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David Brading, Registered Architect

Having worked across many architectural forms David brings a wealth of experience to the Ballast Point team. He previously worked at Welsh and Majors, Terrior and recently at top-tier architecture firm Architectus, amongst other things he worked on the landmark Brookfield Place development in Sydney’s CBS and Barangaroo metro station and was attracted to work at Ballast Point because of the way it brings design and building services together to help uncover clients’ needs and arrive at a tailored architectural solution. David has a Masters of Architecture from The University of Sydney and has had work exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in Italy. He also studied filmmaking, and has an interest in storytelling, experiential architecture and technology. When not working, David loves to get outdoors and go swimming and rock climbing.

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Steven Griffiths, Planning Consultant

Although not directly employed by Ballast Point, Steven is nonetheless a crucial member of the team who is intimately involved in almost all our projects. His ongoing advice is invaluable, and he is our representative when it comes to dealing effectively with council. He has helped us put a string of outstanding DA results together and having him involved early in the planning stage can make all the difference.

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Mat Wilk, Director

And then there’s me. OK, so what’s a builder doing as head of an accomplished design firm? Well, whilst I’ve never had formal architectural training I’ve had a truly privileged grounding in architecture, having worked with some of Australia’s great architects including Ian Moore, Stanic Harding, Roservear Stephenson, Peter Stutchbury, CO-AP, Andrew Burges and Nobbs Radford on some iconic Sydney homes. I was also lucky enough to learn from one of Sydney’s most accomplished and iconic architectural home builders, Chris Yuncken, who taught me how to build by thinking about the final finished surface and working backwards to the structure. My contribution to the design process is to challenge and inspire the design team, but if appropriate pull the project back to the client’s key objectives. When we review the design – even in the earliest stages – I’m already putting the building together in my head and finding the awkward-to-finish junctions, the lack of structural logic or rationalising the roof planes, with a view to getting these right from the outset.

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Nicholas Knezevic, Project Manager

Nicholas works tirelessly in the background to make sure everything run smoothly for clients. A bit of a jack of all trades, he does everything from office management to project management. He is mature beyond his years and has an infectious and unshakable positive attitude. In his spare time, he plays soccer and golf and loves listening to personal development podcasts and reading.

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Goyko Knezevic, Construction Manager

Heading up the construction team at Ballast Point, Goyko oversees all key projects. He is nothing short of a construction savant, with a depth of knowledge, skills and 30 years’ experience that is rare in the industry. He is an expert in diagnosing problems and solving them and getting things done on time and on budget. He’s worked on everything from high-end properties to multi-million dollar government and commercial projects. When not at work, he loves riding bikes, playing soccer and hanging out with his four children.

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Rory Leavy, Site Manager

Rory is a masterful carpenter and joiner with more than 20 years in the trade. Previous projects he has worked on include The Paddington Inn, The Albion Hotel in Parramatta, ARIA restaurant at Circular Quay, Sydney Tower, Carriageworks at Eveleigh and Randwick Racecourse. He has also completed a Communication Strategies Course for Becoming an Inspiring Leader, A Toolkit for New Managers Course, and a Project Management course. On weekends, he loves going for long rides on his motorbike. He has also ridden in many other parts of Australia, including around Tasmania twice.

Michael-OConnell

Michael O’Connell, Site Manager

As well as general site carpentry, Mick communicates regularly with clients to make sure their needs are being met. Also from Ireland, he has been working at Ballast Point since late 2020. His job also includes construction management, engineering and architecture. He has a QQI Craft – Carpentry and Joinery Level 6 from Ireland. Previously he was site manager for joinery fit out for Middle Eastern restaurant Babylon and Duck and Rice eatery at Westfield Sydney and leading carpenter at Bella Vista Garden aged care centre in Kellyville. Mick spends his spare time walking his dog and attending sporting events.

Malik-Ilyas

Malik Ilyas, Site Manager

Malik has been working at Ballast Point since 2015. He is a natural leader, incredibly conscientious and hardworking. Malik was sponsored by Ballast Point to get his Australian residency and bring his family from Pakistan in 2018 – something the company is truly proud of. Malik has never let a client down and never left a client unhappy, he goes the extra mile and then the extra ten miles as well. Malik has a Diploma in Administrative Management, Diploma of Business and Advance Diploma of Business. Major projects he’s worked on include the redevelopment of the Red Truck Removals and Storage depot at Blacktown and the renovation of NWN Property in Epping. When he’s not working, he loves playing sports such as cricket, boxing and tennis.

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Shi Xiang Ma, Carpenter & Gyprocker

Known as Ma on-site, Shi Xiang is originally from China. He met construction manager Goyko when he was working for a gyprocking company that Goyko had contracted in 2003. Goyko told the crew that if they didn’t clean their mess, they would not be welcome back to the site. The next day, Ma was the only one who showed up; the pair have been working together ever since. Known for his reliability, Ma is multi-skilled, working as a labourer, carpenter, gyprocker and doing fitouts. On weekends, he likes spending time with his son.