Standing Meeting

Our People

Ian Hughes, Director

One of the business founders, Ian Hughes is the Utilities and Infrastructure Director for the business. He has focused on the electricity, water, gas and infrastructure markets in Australasia since relocating to Melbourne in 1999.


Prior to founding Engage People, Ian led a progressive career in industry and professional services in Europe and South East Asia. Ian’s roles covered engineering, commercial, sales, organisational development and general management functions prior to him running a profit centre in the UK for a global multinational business.  Having developed the European Best Practice blueprint for human capital resourcing for the largest joint venture in Europe, Ian joined a global recruitment consultancy to develop and lead the utilities practice in London in 1998.

John Zahra, Principal

John specialises in managing and delivering Executive Search services across social infrastructure related sectors with a primary focus on power, water, transport and civil construction. His 20 year career in the recruitment field has provided him with the opportunity to work with the spectrum of organisations operating in these sectors including asset owners, engineering service providers, consulting firms and government bodies.


Having completed a degree in Civil Engineering, John commenced his professional life working in the design and construction of public infrastructure, balancing technical, commercial and community factors. Subsequently he sought exposure to the private sector by securing an engineering sales role with a major construction products company. This provided John with experience in managing relationships and negotiating supplier agreements with leading engineering design houses and construction firms involved in major transport and water projects.

Steve Bartlett, Principal Darwin
Steve Bartlett - Photo_edited_edited_edi

Steve is a Chartered Accountant, an experienced Company Director and has an MBA from Curtin Business School. He has 30 years’ experience across public practice, government-owned corporations, and both private and ASX-listed corporations. Steve is an experienced senior leader and executive, and has worked in a number of multi-national resources operations, a large energy business, as well as family owned companies. His passion is delivering value and commercial acumen to organisations of all sizes.


Steve has been accountable for the design and delivery of numerous functional transformations, focusing on providing a step change improvement in the performance of financial and commercial teams in alignment with the organisation’s culture. Steve arrived in the NT in 2007, and understands the challenges in finding, and keeping, the right people for the right role in a Territory context.

Neil Sampson, Principal Europe

Neil has delivered Executive Recruitment, assessment, development and coaching consultancy solutions covering business start-ups, performance improvement, team development, restructuring, and career transition; all requiring significant understanding of how people align their talents and motivations with the goals of an organization.


British Psychological Society Test Centre accredited he uses a wide range of psychometric and objective assessment tools, including OPQ, MBTI, 16PF, Wave, Dimensions, Hogan and Assessment & Development Centre material. He was awarded CEB/SHL’s Best Use of Psychometric Products for 2007.


He joined the Executive Recruitment industry in 1986 and focused on primarily the Energy & Utility and Manufacturing sectors. As part of a global talent management consultancy, from 1997 – 2002 he led UK consultancy teams in the Energy & Utility, Manufacturing, Public/NFP and Business Psychology sectors.


He sits on the board of the IoD Buckinghamshire branch, and the Energy & Utility Forum.