Cameron Frazer leads Thomson Adsett Forward to 50th milestone

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ThomsonAdsett celebrates 50 years as Australia’s leading architecture and interior design firm. Recently named CEO, Cameron Frazer brings a fresh perspective to the business and, in this profile, shares his vision for the future.

You became CEO of ThomsonAdsett about 18 months ago. What attracted you to this role?

I started my professional life as an architect, then joined the public sector where I spent 13 years in project management and consultancy roles. Through this, I became very interested in people and leadership. I also realized that I missed working in a creative environment, so I left the civil service to take on management roles at the Australian Institute of Architects and then at architectural firm Hayball as commercial director .

When the opportunity arose to lead ThomsonAdsett as CEO, I jumped at the chance. Helping people do their best to make business and creativity intersect is intriguing, challenging and enjoyable. I am thrilled to lead a practice with such an important legacy and such potential.

How has ThomsonAdsett evolved over the past 50 years?

Exploring this history was a big part of coming on board. It is very evident that a constant over the last 50 years is a strong ethic of care – projects that provide care to people in different ways and a culture of care for clients, partners and staff.

The firm was founded in Brisbane by Ian Thomson and Rob Adsett, who had a strong Christian background. They started working for religious groups and quickly moved into aligned spaces like health and elder care to become the primary architects of that space. Later came education, community and civic projects.

Although we have seen significant changes in all of these sectors in recent years, particularly due to the pandemic, the culture and ethics of care are the constant that underpins ThomsonAdsett. It’s why clients come to us and why people work for us, and that resonates strongly with me. I have always been interested in work that contributes to the community and to society.

Where is Thomson Adsett now?

Education, health, senior living and aged care, community and social and affordable housing are all strong sectors for the practice.

Our clients benefit from ideas, innovations and expertise developed over half a century of architecture. Most importantly, we bring multi-industry capability to the growing intersection between industries. For example, health and elder care are very strongly aligned, and there is increasing contiguity between elder care and education.

We also have a strong retail team, which is valuable as retail principles are increasingly applied to, for example, healthcare and aged care projects. Commercial and retail spaces play a key role in building communities, allowing people to live, shop and socialize in one neighborhood.

Our interior design team is growing and doing a great job. All of our projects draw on our interiors skills and the team is developing its own profile, including responding to the high demand for redevelopment of aged care facilities, a strategy we encourage.

What is your vision for the future of ThomsonAdsett?

We are leveraging our history to move forward with renewed energy. Having (hopefully) been through the worst of Covid, the vision is to cement our reputation in our core sectors and grow our strong Australian base, then focus on expanding our international opportunities.

Recent appointments bring fresh thinking to our team. We have a new Director of Healthcare in Melbourne and a new Head of Business Development based in Brisbane, where we will be moving into an exciting new studio in June.

ThomsonAdsett looks to the next fifty years with determination, as a team united across four studios, with a common purpose to create places that enrich people’s lives and build on our ethic of care.

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