Ashak was born in Africa with an Indian heritage. He started his career in Uganda however, due to a dangerous political situation he was forced to leave the country virtually penniless.
Since coming to Australia, Ashak graduated from the University of New South Wales, working in Building Services as a Mechanical Engineer.
Working for Norman Disney & Young for 33 years he rose to the position of Director. Ashak is a pioneer in the area of Building Sustainability. He showed the clients that being sustainable isn’t just about capital cost.
Ashak attempted to retire after over 30 years at Norman Disney & Young. At his retirement party he wrote a poem titled “A Lie” and explained how his entire engineering career in Australia has been a lie.
“And everybody said, What do you mean a lie?”
After retiring from engineering, Ashak finally returned to the academic world working as a lecturer at Sydney Uni. In 2016, Ashak was conferred as Honorary Associate by the University of Sydney for services over and above allocated duties and was awarded Member of Order of Australia (AM) for significant services to the Ismaili Community in Australia, to tertiary education in areas of sustainable design, and to engineering.
Every Sunday he is keeping us informed about sustainability on Eastside FM
#32.30 Hot Topic discussion
Ashak discusses the issue of comfort in society.
Specifically, the “use of technology both in addressing comfort, and in measuring comfort”
“as human beings, we were never designed to spend so much time in artificial areas”
Since the invention of air conditioning units “I can cool a group of people, but not everybody will be happy. And that’s been the case ever since”
Monitoring of an individual’s environment within an office space is a new and exciting engineering space “through your iPhone, you can now provide feedback on how you feel”
This individualised monitoring of the environment, together with sustainability, means the Facilities Management role is going to change and evolve over time.
“there will be engineers who will become very good plant operators, because Facilities Management is changing”
Engineering has an important role to play in ensuring buildings are designed for meet individual comfort as well as ensuring the building’s sustainability. They must work with the designer as well as the company running the building.
“in terms of the engineering, and in terms of design, and certainly engineers are going to play a big, big, big, big role and continue to play the big role”
To ensure success of sustainability, you’ve got to “look at the costs and the benefits at the same time”
During this podcast, you will also reflect on:
Ashak described the experience of arriving in Australia as a refugee and having to build his career. He received some advice from Allan Disney (from NDY) very early in his job search. “He said, if I were you, I would start off with something smaller in the area of engineering“
“I started to draw some lines and show some initiative”
Working as an engineer in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics has been an incredible experience for many engineers.
An engineering item for discussion…The technology involving measurements “any form of measurements”… “the measurements in comfort are certainly the ones that I really admire”. “
An engineer to admire…Allan Disney “I followed his footsteps absolutely to a tee” “he and I had lots and lots of discussions”