How did you get into engineering?
I am a bit of a chip off the old block really. My Dad is also a mechanical engineer. This gave me a bit of exposure to the field in my formative years, getting to see the (awesome) machines he was working on from time to time.
Coming out of High school I was pretty keen to tackle those kind of challenges, and decided to study mechanical engineering.
Where did you study?
I studied at Auckland university.
With high marks from High School I was offered a place on the Bachelor of Engineering Accelerated pathway. This involved taking on extra courses each semester, in addition to summer school study.
The payoff was finishing the 4-year degree within 3 years. With some hard work and perseverance, I wrapped up study and got into my first “real” job when I was 20.
What do you enjoy most about mechanical engineering?
Working to understand the issues and coming up with a solution. Seeing the results of what I have been working on makes it all worthwhile. There’s something about the tangible, physical aspect of the work that resonates with me.
What engineering experience have you had before Caliber?
I had spent several years working for Fisher & Paykel appliances. I was in a team designing washing machine components—specifically those that spin >1000 RPM. For such an understated appliance that most people have in their home, there are many engineering challenges due to the dynamics of the system. Over my time there I was lucky to have many challenging projects that helped me develop as an engineer, including reliability testing, FE analysis, improving test capability and capacity, coordination with factory stakeholders.
Visits to Thailand and China to support product improvements and new product introduction came a bit later in my time there. This involved developing an understanding of how the machines operated, what process adjustments were reasonable, possible, and making recommendations to improve the product. These trips were challenging, but one of the highlights.
Fun fact! Guess who had designed many of the machines making the washing machine drums I was working on? Yeah, my Dad worked on design for nearly all of them at PML (now Facteon). One line designed several years before I was born, others that I had seen in NZ back when I was younger.
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?
The main part of being a Caliber Engineer is fitting in as an extension of the client team. Keeping relevant stakeholders involved, getting to the right level of detail for good feedback has always been important. For me this means asking the right questions in discussions to keep our design moving in the right direction.
Getting the message across when we are not face to face can be daunting, but with screen sharing tools available we can still hold productive discussions remotely. I have had several projects under Caliber working for clients remotely in the past, which makes readjusting to working at home a bit easier!
What makes working at Caliber different from other engineering companies?
The variety of what we can work on! I have been given opportunities to work across projects I would not have considered otherwise, and found I was able to rise to the challenge.
Is there any particular project or industry that you’re particularly interested in?
Getting a chance to work designing factory machines has always been on the list. I have always been drawn to the complexity of these systems and could see myself taking it on.
I have recently been involved in projects for fabrication of architectural metalwork, and it is a huge sense of achievement seeing these designs coming together on some significant projects in Auckland. I didn’t quite expect to enjoy this particular niche as much as I did going into it, but there is a lot of satisfaction seeing some of the work out in the wild. Especially when one of the more interesting ones I had worked on is a few minutes drive away from my house!
What does your dream project involve?
I have found myself to be open minded and flexible, I would find value in a lot of the work out there. What interests me is a variety of technical challenges to consider—something that stretches my skillset.
Imagine things coming full circle and getting a chance to work in a professional capacity with Dad, wouldn’t that be cool!
What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
All kinds really. Getting out in Nature for tramps, camping, or kayak missions.
I like taking on DIY design and build projects. I have pulled together teammates on occasion for design projects like the “power tool race” or an F&P internal robotics competition.
I’ve made things myself including a set of segmented plate Armor for an event at University. This also got a few battle scars when I took it onto the field at a paintball game.
I nerd out a little bit with regular Dungeons & Dragons games with my friends as a player in one game, and a game master for another. The appeal here is sitting around a table with my friends, throwing dice around while we improvise, and come up with a shared story.