How did you come to be in this industry?
As a kid I always wanted to be an electrical engineer. At tech school I completed a work experience placement with an electrician which resulted in me deciding to become an electrician.
I obtained an electrical apprenticeship but then found that the electrician I was working with was also covering for the instrument technician and electrical engineer. This led me to change from an electrical apprenticeship to an instrument apprenticeship.
Towards the end of my apprenticeship, I realised I still wanted to be an electrical/instrument engineer and the company I worked for offered me a cadetship.
This was at the time when pneumatic instruments were being replaced with electrical instruments connected to DCS systems, and PLCs were moving into digital control. It was an ideal time for me, having just completed the Instrument Technician trade course, to move on to university to study Electrical/Instrument engineering.
What's the best business idea you have that you will never use?
I think that distributed miniature modular nuclear power generation will be the energy system of the future.
I hope it will become a reality because this will minimise infrastructure requirements such as poles and wires while having the potential to stabilise the present runaway cost of both industrial and domestic electrical supply.
What do you see are the biggest opportunities for our industry?
The opportunities for our industry will always be based on how well we use information. The challenge is to collect relevant data and process it to guide decision making.
It must always be remembered, data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, and understanding is not wisdom (Clifford Stoll).
Our task is always to determine what is relevant to the job in hand to enable plant and process designs to be optimised.
What's the greatest challenge in your job?
The greatest challenge in any job is to be an effective leader for those for whom you are responsible.
This means that above all else, you must deliver job security for your employees by finding new opportunities and assisting them with the implementation of new technology.
It also means guiding their efforts to ensure that they deliver value for money engineering to the clients.
It is very important to assist our clients to be competitive and profitable, so they will continue to keep other Australians employed.
If you could be anything else, what would it be and why?
An astronaut because space science involves an interaction between pure science and technology.
The development of communication and control systems for spacecraft and the international space station has been at the forefront of technological developments for many years with spin-off benefits for our daily lives.