How did you get into engineering?

When I was younger I always enjoyed taking things apart to understand how they worked. As soon as I understood something, I got bored and moved onto the next thing, usually leaving things dismantled in a heap. I really enjoyed physics in school and the idea of designing new things really excited me. My biggest pet peeve is trying to use something that doesn’t function as well as it should and I’ve always been convinced I could do it better. So before I knew it I was enrolled in engineering at UC.

What do you enjoy most about mechanical engineering?

I’ve always enjoyed the process of creating a new product or solution. Whether it is building off an existing solution with a good knowledge base or starting completely fresh. There are always new learnings, aspects that haven’t been explored and another way to achieve a desired solution. New developments encourage a lot of creativity which is something I really enjoy. Engineers are seldom seen as artsy but they have their own style of creativity.

What makes working at Caliber different from other engineering companies?

The variety of work. At Caliber, engineers are constantly working on new projects at different companies. It keeps us on our toes so we’re always learning. Often we’re thrown into the deep end with a new product that we’ve had no experience with amongst a team who are very experienced with that product. That means we always have to be quick learners and hit the ground running. However, coming in with fresh eyes can be an advantage because it gives us the opportunity to question everything and look at things from a different angle. This means that Caliber engineers develop a broad knowledge base and experience with a number of different industries, software programmes, engineering processes and team environments.

What the most interesting project you've worked on?

The most exciting project I’ve worked on is the one I’m currently working on at Cavotec. We’re developing a new mooring machine for ships from concept through to testing and, because there’s such a small group of engineers, it means that Caliber is quite an integral part of the team. We are given a lot of flexibility and room for creativity in the design process. Mooring machines are an alternative mooring method to ropes, utilising vacuum suction to attach to ships with a mechanical system linking the ship to the berth. This offers a more restrictive mooring, which moors in a fraction of the time and dampens the ships movement. These mooring machines allow greater productivity in container ports and faster mooring in ferry terminals.

What does your dream project involve?

I’m not totally sure! I like variety though which is why I enjoy working at Caliber. If I keep working on the same things for too long, I get bored because I feel like my learning slows down. In the future, I want to continue with a variety of projects and ideally, I’d like to work on things that are working towards a more sustainable future. Things that are going to help our environment and heal some of the damage that we’ve done. Anything in that area would be ideal but as long as it’s new, interesting and doing something good then I’m quite happy!

What does the average day of a Caliber engineer look like?

It depends on what phase we’re in. We’re currently transitioning from concept to detailed design. We’ve done all the conceptual stuff, we’ve tried a number of different things, and we’re starting to finalise our solution. Now comes the point where we take all those bits that we think are going to work really well and remove all the little kinks that might stop it working functionally. You get a real sense of satisfaction towards the end because everything’s taking shape and starting to look like a real machine, not just a few conceptual blobs on a screen. My favourite part of the process is the concept design where you crammed in a room with a bunch of engineers and come up with a whole bunch of crazy, varying ideas. Sometimes you find that the craziest idea sparks a really good solution.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?

As an engineer, I spend so much time indoors that as soon as I’m out of the office, I spend the entire time outside dabbling and exploring different sports and environments. I spend most of my life surfing, snowboarding, and I’m now learning how to paraglide. If I can find the time, I’ll probably try and take up another sport slightly different to the other three since I’ve ticked off riding snow, water and air—however it won’t be concrete, I’ve given up on that! I like to explore in as many ways as possible so if I haven’t experienced something, I want to at least try it out.

Find out a bit more about Joe’s skills and experience in his bio.