Colleague Interview

A conversation with David Somek, Director, Asia Pacific

David Somek is a Director in the Strategy, Development and Optimisation team. We sat down to talk about his career and his role in the business.

What is your role at HKA?

In a nutshell, my role involves leading complex engagements and managing client relationships. A core focus of my work is helping clients get a real-world view of their capital planning and delivery capability, capacity and maturity. I also have a strong focus on project development – supporting clients to plan and develop their projects from inception through to procurement. We do this for clients across the water, social, health, education and transport sectors.

My most important role is supporting the team – providing guidance, direction, mentoring and anything else they need to help steer them through their career at HKA. I’m really fortunate to play a small role in their career development while they are with HKA, and it’s easily the most rewarding part of my job as a Director.

What is your academic and business background?

I’m an Economist by trade. I chose Economics early on because I was intrigued by how humans and society make and weigh up decisions. It’s given me a real grounding in thinking about trade-offs, incentives, and outcomes, and how these can be applied to real world problems – like how and where we should invest our infrastructure dollars!

I’ve been blessed with a very diverse career – although I wish it was by design!

I started working life at the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance and after a few years, made the jump to consulting. For the first third of my career, my work focussed on economic and strategic policy across the water, natural resource management, environment and energy sectors.

The next stage of my career, I found a real passion for urban and regional economics. My focus was on regional and urban economic development, regional infrastructure prioritisation, employment precinct development, and community and social infrastructure.

At the core of this work was the role of infrastructure in supporting people and places to thrive.

This led me to join HKA in 2020.

What sparked your interest in infrastructure?

One of the core elements of how we live and work is infrastructure. It’s an enabler, so how we plan, conceive and deliver infrastructure delivers outcomes for people and places. So the decision-making process to get from concept to completion piqued my interest.

What made you choose this career path?

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to follow my interests and passions, so my career evolved organically. Like peeling an onion, I delved into my interests layer by layer.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about how to make great places in regional and urban settings for people to live, work and play. Quality transport, education, and social infrastructure are important levers to enable people and communities to reach their potential so we all have access to opportunities. I’m also passionate about improving whole of government decision-making and how we conceive and deliver these projects.

What do you love about what you do?

I love who we work for – both the clients and HKA. We work on really complex and interesting projects, and we’re lucky that our clients are passionate about the outcomes they deliver for their communities and customers.

What attracted you to HKA?

The people at HKA walk the walk. Everyone I work with is genuinely interested in embedding best practices and helping clients deliver great outcomes.

HKA partnered with Infrastructure Australia on the Delivering Outcome Report. How is your team helping to drive change in the infrastructure industry?

The Delivering Outcomes report defines what good looks like in the infrastructure industry. At the time, this involved the largest industry consultation exercise undertaken to inform national infrastructure reform. This experience enables us to define what best practice looks like in the Australian context.

We’re now putting into practice these learnings and insights, working hand-in-hand with clients to transform their businesses in how infrastructure is conceived, planned, procured and delivered.

You live in regional Australia. How do you stay connected to the business?

HKA has done a great job of embracing flexible working. I meet with my team regularly on Microsoft Teams with cameras on so we ‘see’ each other and I make it a point to be in the office at least twice a week to catch up in person. We also make it a priority to get together as often as we can for social gatherings.

What is something about you that might surprise people?

At university, I did a minor in Egyptology, which I found fascinating. I haven’t made it to Egpyt yet, but I’d love to see the Abu Simbel Temples one day.

If you want to find out more about joining HKA, contact to arrange a confidential discussion or visit


This publication presents the views, thoughts or opinions of the author and not necessarily those of HKA. Whilst we take every care to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of publication, the content is not intended to deal with all aspects of the subject referred to, should not be relied upon and does not constitute advice of any kind. This publication is protected by copyright © 2023 HKA Global Ltd.


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