How did you get into engineering?
Growing up, my grandfather and my father had a business together that was calibration repairs of technical equipment … so I was always around engineering. I’ve always been into pulling things apart, seeing how they work.
As a teenager, I got into mountain biking. I did all my own repairs on everything … whether it was simple tune ups or completely pulling my suspension or hydraulic brakes apart. I’d always try to do it myself rather than pay someone!
At school I was good at accounting … so had to choose between accounting and engineering. I’m pleased with my choice—accounting is way too boring!
What do you enjoy most about mechanical engineering?
Figuring out how things work and I like finding new and different ways to do things … whether that’s designing an item or a process. Who’s to say the way we’ve always done something is the best way?
What engineering experience did you have before you came to Caliber?
My first real job out of Uni, I was working for a company in Whangarei called Industrial Stainless & Design. They made separators for effluent systems. A few months after I started there, they went into voluntary administration and the company was liquidated.
Reid & Harrison Engineering in Matamata bought all of ISD’s assets (they wanted the separator IP). and took some of the staff on too. I was one of them! Previously Reid & Harrison had just made dairy effluent pumps, but they wanted to move to making full systems.
I did just over four years with them. In that role, I started off designing separators. The design they had purchased was flawed and I was thrown in the deep end to fix it! The first redesign was a bit of a shambles but I learnt heaps through the process! The subsequent design was way better, they work, and they’re still making them now. I was there when the first three were made—one went to Ireland, one when to Chile. They were pretty confident in the design, sending them to the other side of the world!
While I was at Reid & Harrison, and they moved into that designing systems space, a colleague and I were charged with designing systems as well. That was interesting … having zero farm experience (I grew up in Auckland!) … I learnt a lot very quickly about how to pump stuff, how fluids work, what you can and can’t do. We’d help the guys with servicing, so we’d really understand how the products were being used.
After that, I did a year in a Sales Engineer job. That was me trying to find variety. Then I came to Caliber and found it!
What makes working for Caliber different from the other engineering companies you’ve worked for?
I’m sure everyone says the same thing—the variety! Each project I’ve done for Caliber has been completely different. I’ve worked for Oasis Engineering, ISS, Ballance Agrinutrients, Page Macrae, and Ligar so far.
Is there a particular industry or project that you’d really like to be involved in?
The cool industries like automotive and aerospace!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I’ve surfed forever, but am still trying to find the best, least congested surf spots in the Waikato.
Mountain biking! Rotorua, always stated as one of the best places in the world for mountain biking, is great in the weekends. During the week, there’s a great trail network in Te Miro that I head to with friends.
I also have a money pit in my garage … a Nissan 300ZX, a 1990s supercar! It’s a twin turbo V6, which likes to break! They were a popular car in their day and there aren’t many around in good nic that haven’t had questionable modifications done to them. Everything has been done on mine that can be done, other than the gearbox. It’s my everyday car.