How did you get into engineering?
In my later school years I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after I left, so my Dad (a mechanical engineer) took me out to his work for a site visit. During the visit, my Dad had a meeting with a structural engineer to assess some damage to a warehouse and what particularly sparked my interest was the collaboration and the way they worked together to solve a technical issue. Coming home from that visit, I was invigorated to pursue a career in engineering. This is why I think that bridging programs that target school students such as Engineering New Zealand’s Wonder Project or Week of Engineering are so important as they inspire the next generation of engineers.
What do you enjoy most about mechanical engineering?
The diversity in projects and the great people I get to work with. Being a mechanical engineer has so many opportunities and in such a wide range of industries. Everything from professional services, product design, manufacturing, mining, aerospace, project management, client management, regulators … and the list keeps going! For me, this is really exciting because there is so much opportunity to keep learning and being involved in meaningful projects that benefit our community.
What engineering experience did you have before you came to Caliber?
I was really fortunate to land my first engineering job after university at BVT Engineering Professional Services, an engineering consultancy which specializes in seismic design and compliance within the construction industry. At the time I was with them they were also involved in mechanical design and certification, which meant that there was quite a diverse range of projects across a wide range of industries. The time with them gave me the opportunity to be involved with some really interesting projects with a really cool team. Following that, I moved to London for 6 months and worked at a leading temporary works company, GKR. Fortunately, I came home a few months prior to COVID-19 and started off with Caliber Design!
What makes working for Caliber different from the other engineering companies you’ve worked for?
The business model of Caliber Design is really unique, hiring out engineers on a project-by-project basis. It is the only company that I know of that operates like this within the professional engineering industry. This essentially means that as engineers, we can come in and assist client projects at the point where the additional capacity is needed and come up to speed rapidly. I really like this approach as it means I am continually learning with a large variety of work.
We’re currently in the Covid-19 lockdown, but you’re still working for clients remotely. What does a typical day for a Caliber engineer look like? How has it changed in these lockdown conditions?
I’m currently on secondment with Hamilton Jet in the New Product Development team and a lot of the work I’m doing is focused around supporting the design of two new jet models. This is pretty interesting seeing a jet come from conceptual design all the way through to detailed design and manufacturing. Fortunately, I have been able to remote login into my computer without too much productivity being lost. The key element of working remotely is to ensure that we are still communicating as a team so silos don’t occur.
Is there a particular project that’s been a highlight of your career?
That’s really hard! There is a lot of projects that I’m really proud to be a part of, but one in particular is the construction monitoring of the seismic design of the interior fit out of Wellington Airport Hotel. The project involved flying up to Wellington from Christchurch on a weekly basis and conducting inspections with the installation team and project managers. For me, the best part was the collaboration between the team when there were variations or changes on site that needed addressing in a timely fashion.
What does your dream project involve?
I really enjoy the space in engineering where structural and mechanical engineering overlap. So, for me to be involved in a project like the design of an offshore oil rig would be particularly interesting, especially with so many complex technical factors like how it interacts with the environment, the structural integrity, the cyclic loading in the sea and life cycle of the project. A project of this size would be a fantastic opportunity to refine some project management skills and work with large cross functional teams, stakeholders, and clients.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I love the outdoors and really enjoy hiking, running and anything involved with the water. For me, this is really important for both my physical and mental wellbeing so I’ve had to be somewhat creative during the lockdown period. Fortunately, I live outside the city so a run around the “block” is 6-8 km of farmland. I would also say that one of the best parts of life is doing it with others, so spending time with my wife and catching up with mates while supporting the local breweries is a big highlight of a week.