1) What's your job about?
UGL is currently commissioning the Malabar Waste Water Treatment Facility, which includes all control systems, instrumentation, greenfield/ brownfield works and upgrades.
I’m currently involved in the SCADA system implementation. As this is a pre-existing facility, we’re contracted to cut over all processes onto the SCADA network without interrupting operation. My daily workload consists of liaising with tradesmen, operators and managers; to ensure there are no implications or disruptions. While working alongside control system engineers, our role is to replicate control system logic, programme PLCs as well as create documentation and specifications; such as FDS’s, permits and safety bulletins. To effectively achieve this; planning, coordination and safety are our primary objectives.
What we are doing is logically very simple; however ensuring the hardware across the network is communicating correctly becomes rather difficult. Prior to starting my career as a graduate, I had a limited understanding of network protocols and programming hardware. Working on site has allowed me to understand these concepts first hand by allowing me to learn from my mistakes and see the equipment in operation.
You get a whole new appreciation for networking when you see those little ‘comms’ lights flashing away indicating a healthy signal.
2) What's your background?
Start with: Where did you grow up? - Born in South Africa and moved to Melbourne in 2002 before I moved to Sydney in 2015.
List the most important stages of your life:
School: Box Hill High School
Education: Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Experience Abroad: International athletic experience – travelled to Europe to compete on the European Athletics Circuit.
2011 – 2015: Engineering Intern at Cummins Inc. in the Power Generation business.
2015 – 2016: Joined the UGL Engineering Graduate Program
3) How did you get to your current job position and for how long have you being doing it already?
UGL graduate program is a 3 year rotational program that allows graduates to experience all parts of the business. Since starting with UGL I’ve been a part of the design team that worked on the North West Rail Link project, Bids and Estimating team that focused on securing projects and opportunities and recently I’ve joined the Commissioning team where I’ll be stationed for the next 6 months.
My family have played an extremely important role of who I am today. My father is an electrical engineer who immigrated to Australia to give my sisters and I the same opportunities. Today, we’re a family of engineers with my sisters currently completing their chemical and biomedical engineering degrees.
Track and field has also been a major contributor to who I am today. Not only has it allowed me to travel the world, but it has also given me the core values to be a successful engineer. Training twice a day, most days requires a certain level of determination and motivation, which can complement most engineering values.
4) Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, I have no doubt someone with a different background might be able to do my job. They might approach the task differently, but the end result will always need to be the same. Working in a team of engineers with different backgrounds provides some variety and allows us to have a discussion about the best possible solution.
An engineer not only needs to be able to problem solve, but needs to be able to do it effectively. When commissioning; patience, determination and being able to learn from mistakes are crucial characteristics required to get the job done.
5) What's the coolest thing about your job?
I love feeling like I’m making a real difference; even if it’s starting on the non-critical items as a graduate engineer: like programming the ventilation fans and hot water systems at the water treatment plant. I know that at the end of the day I’ve made a significant contribution to the facility functioning correctly and that as time goes on and I gain more valuable experience, the responsibilities will only grow.
6) What are the limitations of your job?
As a graduate I expect we’re hired for our ‘fresh out of the box’ minds that have not been corrupted by particular engineering norms. We’re not hired to take on large amounts of responsibility without suitable guidance to do so. While the responsibility may not be a heavy burden, the expectation to work hard and make sacrifices to ensure the work gets done is. The biggest limitation in my job is time. Being able to effectively complete tasks under time constraints can be demanding but having great time management and organisational skills can improve your chances of not working weekends.
7) 3 pieces of advice for your teenage self...