Before I start, I know About Us pages can be somewhat drab, so if you don’t want to know all the boring details about me, then skip over to my blog now. If you are genuinely interested in the who and the why of Mark Owen, then grab a coffee and read on!
Hi, I’m Mark and I’m 40-something years old. I don’t see that as old; I see it as experienced.
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be in the Military. I had a love for aircraft and passion for serving my country just like my Grandfather did before me.
So, at the ripe age of nineteen, I joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), following a year working as a clerk in a Pathology Lab post Year 12. I recall telling the Flight Sergeant at Dandenong recruitment centre that I wasn’t really phased what trade I joined, just being part of the RAAF and following in the footsteps of every generation in my family servicing my country was all that mattered.
In July 1995, as an Aircraftmen recruit, I headed off to RAAF Edinburgh to complete recruit training and then become a Clerk trainee. Two years into my first posting as a Clerk, I realised that technology and computers were my real passion. I decided to apply to become a Communications Information Systems Controller (CISCON), which allowed me to fulfil my dreams of being in the Air Force, as well as gain knowledge in a technical field. I had the opportunity to work with computers, servers and communications which was the perfect win-win situation.
In the time between 1997 and 2002, after successfully passing the CISCON course, I enjoyed postings to RAAF Williams and RAAF Wagga Wagga working in various roles within ICT. The posting at RAAF Williams provided some steep learning curves both personally and professionally, but the posting to Wagga is where I not only learned about managing staff and taking greater responsibilities as a leader, but met a wonderful life long friend that I still maintain very close contact with today.
In 2003 I married Belinda and after our honeymoon we returned to Wagga to live together for the first time. Belinda was given a quick dose of reality as a service wife. After only a few months I found myself deployed on service for 3 months in Rockhampton. For Belinda it was her first time out of home, in a new house, new state, new workplace, in the middle of nowhere with a husband off playing CISCON in the bush at Rockhampton. Just what every new bride could want!
In 2004 I was posted back to Victoria, attached to the Army base Simpson Barracks, as an Instructor. Being an Army base, I was effectively and unknowingly “joining” the Army the minute I marched into the Unit. This was a culture shock as the Army do things a lot differently to the RAAF. But my initial fears were unfounded as I discovered just how professional and black and white the Army operated, which was a little different to the grey I was use to in the Air Force. Although it did have challenges when it came to Physical Training 4 times a week, some alpha personality types and a more direct style of feedback, I thrived in the new environment!
Simpson Barracks is also where I had a second professional encounter with a supervisor, who despite often not seeing eye to eye with personally, she had a profound impact on not only the way I learned to be a high grade instructor, but the way I still deliver training today. I must credit her for the life lessons I was taught. I still use the “You get 100% of what you don’t ask for” saying to this day! An amazing, passionate, professional women!
Unfortunately, during the final year of my posting to Simpson Barracks, an immediate family member became very ill. At the same time Belinda’s career prospects at Defence Housing Australia (DHA) were blossoming and my career adviser informed me that 2006 would be my last year south of Sydney and to prepare for somewhere a bit warmer. It was then I decided to discharge (or resign) from the RAAF and seek employment that would allow me to remain in Melbourne. (What transpires 10 years later will make you laugh!)
I applied and was successful for a position at RAAF Williams as an ICT System Administrator at the then Headquarters Training Command as a public servant. Whilst this role was not as satisfying as my role in the Air Force, it did allow for greater work life balance, gave Belinda the opportunity to rise to Senior Property Manager at DHA, and still allowed me to be immersed in the Defence environment.
In 2012, following the retirement of my then supervisor and the decommissioning of his position, my role changed significantly and I became a Knowledge and Project Manager. I still occasionally had the opportunity to get hands “on the tools”, but project and security work was more the norm.
In 2013 our first child Isaac was born and it’s fair to say had a profound impact on how I viewed life, money, my own childhood and what was really important in life.
Fast forward to 2017 and that’s where we decided to shake things up. Melbourne was just not filling the void anymore and both my wife and I were falling out of love with the big city fast. An opportunity arose at my workplace that was too good to be true and we decided to jump! My workplace was undergoing a restructure, and whilst me and my position were never in doubt, I volunteered myself for a redundancy package. I was looking for a career change and most likely going to leave for a new challenge, so what better way to do it than with a golden handshake that also meant a fellow colleague who needed to keep their job did. My workplace was also able to cover my departure in their restructure with the personnel who were to remain, so it was a good fit for both parties, even if I did have to put my negotiating skills to the test to get it to happen.
So, what did we do after the paperwork was signed sealed and delivered… bought a house in Brisbane of course! A desire to live further north where the climate is warmer, the people are friendlier and the streets not as busy was a welcome change for us. We wanted our son to be able to enjoy playing outdoors for more than 4 months a year and have a yard that can fit a pool and play equipment. Our 400sqm block in Melbourne just wasn’t cutting it. We trekked up the highway just before Christmas last year and settled into our new home in Brisbane in December. Not one for sitting on my butt too long, I enrolled in a couple of training courses to fill voids in my knowledge base and in between studying, spent my days building sheds and swings. Ascendancy IT Solutions is a bi-product of my training and desire to help businesses and professionals achieve the best results in the most efficient way.
I have a flair for website design and development and spent the past couple of years working on SharePoint projects as the Lead Content Manager and site designer for 19 Air Force units. My passion lies with the creation and delivery of training programs and working on projects where I can see the desired outcome successfully play out. I have a desire to help others and I am also trying to better my skills professionally and personally to be a better role model to our son.