Alex doesn’t come from a family of engineers, nor was she really around engineers growing up. As a teenager she started showing an aptitude for chemistry and maths, but had no desire to get into a career in science.
So she had this idea.. If she combined chemistry with maths, that would equal chemical engineering…
Engineering made sense. One thing I was clear about was, I knew I wanted to do chemical engineering
Extra discussions during the episode
Future: Engineers will be highly sought after professionals, across many different industries.
Engineering cuts across so many different industries
Advice: Be true to yourself and try to do what you enjoy.
It’s so important to just follow where your interest lies
The Falkirk Wheel
It is just such a marvel
She’s just one of the most impressive human beings to me
Alex Kingsbury is an Additive Manufacturing Fellow at RMIT University where she leads Engagement for the RMIT Centre for Additive Manufacturing.
Prior to this, Alex was an industry consultant that advised businesses on additive manufacturing.
Previously, Alex was the Director of CSIRO’s additive manufacturing centre Lab 22 where she implemented an industry initiative that gave manufacturing businesses access and training to metal 3D printers and provided coworking lab space.
Alex holds a Bachelor of Engineering from RMIT University in Melbourne; she is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
This is a “close” copy of the words that were spoken during the Podcast, Season 4 Episode 7
It is not 100% accurate.
The guest was Alex Kingsbury
[00:00:00] Alex: [00:00:00] I think it was my mum who probably pushed the option on me. She did have an interest in engineering in a way. It was never really an option for her to pursue. she actually is a social worker but she probably suggested it at some point.
[00:00:13]It was more just the, I had a thought bubble chemistry and maths
[00:00:18]Mel or Dom: [00:00:18] it’s amazing because not everyone grows up realizing engineering is an option. So to have actually gone down that path
[00:00:25]Alex: [00:00:25] Yeah. I think I briefly considered Genetics and also considered physiotherapy. but my mum, wasn’t really kind of keen on that. I dunno. engineering made sense. one thing I was clear about was I knew I wanted to do chemical engineering and I didn’t want to go into a general first year of engineering. So I chose to go to RMIT university for that reason pretty much. and the fact that it had a good reputation for strong industry links.
[00:00:54] Mel or Dom: [00:00:54] So you studied chemical engineering at RMIT, what was the first role that you did?
[00:01:00]Alex: [00:01:00] yeah, so I ended up going into consulting engineering. I went to KBR, , in Adelaide and, I was a junior process engineer. I was on the process engineering team. I was part of a larger group of about 60 engineers.
[00:01:16]and we were, I think called the minerals process and industrial group. , and we worked on projects like oil and gas projects , mining projects, and just general industrial projects as well.
[00:01:27]Mel or Dom: [00:01:27] So did that get you out onto site as part of the graduate program, or were you mainly doing consulting work in the office?
[00:01:34]Alex: [00:01:34] So I don’t think I ever went onsite for the whole entire time I was at KBR there. Yeah, I know it was, probably a bit of an anomaly though, to be honest. there was one opportunity for me to have gone on site, but at the time I had a clash. I was invited to speak as part of a colloquium in Canberra, which was a big deal for me.
[00:01:53] And so I had a clash with that and I went, to the colloquium instead. it was also slightly complicated by the fact I had a child. So, when I was at university, I had a baby and by the time I started my career in engineering, she was five years old and so it, it really, wasn’t kind of straightforward to be going away from home for a longer period of time.
[00:02:14] And so, yeah, it wouldn’t have been impossible, but it, it just, wasn’t straightforward. So I think I probably wasn’t given some of those types of opportunities where it would have required more work on site.
[00:02:25] Mel or Dom: [00:02:25] Okay. And you’re now back in Melbourne
[00:02:27] Alex: [00:02:27] Back in Melbourne. Yeah. Brief stint in Adelaide, went overseas and travelled for about a year and then come back to Melbourne.
[00:02:34]Mel or Dom: [00:02:34] So whereabouts are you working now?
[00:02:37]Alex: [00:02:37] so I’m back at RMIT , after all these years. it’s interesting. I didn’t really expect to be necessarily. I kept in contact, , with a lot of the academics , at our RMIT, and you know, of course I, as I already described, I did chemical engineering. , but actually where I’m working in is, , what’s called, materials, manufacturing, and mechatronics.
[00:03:00] So it’s more of the mechanical engineering type of school. Certainly all the students I work with, they’re all mechanical engineers. So I ended up there my role is an industry fellow in additive manufacturing. , so additive manufacturing is a fancy word for 3D printing.
[00:03:16]Mel or Dom: [00:03:16] That is so cool. whereabouts did you get the experience for the 3D printing
[00:03:21]Alex: [00:03:21] yeah, I started out working in 3D printing nearly 10 years ago now. After having been overseas for a little bit and coming back to Melbourne, I applied for a job at CSIRO. And part of my attraction to CSIRO was the fact that it was a bit more site-based in a way, it’s a different sort of a site that it’s certainly very much you’re there with the equipment and you can say what’s going on and you know, you can touch and feel it. And the role that I had at CSIRO was owing to my industry experience. And wanting to take some of that industry sensibility into the lab, basically. And as an engineer, I would work with the scientists to be able to develop a commercialization and a scale up plan for their work.
[00:04:07] Mel or Dom: [00:04:07] when you working side by side with scientists, is the engineering mind very different to that of the way that the scientists approach things.
[00:04:17] Alex: [00:04:17] So I suppose the archetypes would have you believe that engineers and scientists are different. but what I saw at CSIRO was there were scientists that were frustrated engineers and there were engineers that were frustrated scientists. So, you know, there was a bit of blending, I think, of mentalities and approaches.
[00:04:38]you know, I guess if you’re going to work at a place like CSIRO. you’re going to be a scientist that wants to really industrialize your science. And if you’re an engineer that works at CSIRO, you’re going to be, you know, an engineer that loves science. I don’t think there was a big division between staff along those lines.
[00:04:57] Mel or Dom: [00:04:57] Oh, man, that sounds like that’s really formed where you’ve ended up now. so tell me about the role that you’re in at the moment at RMIT.
[00:05:04]Alex: [00:05:04] so my work at RMIT actually is all around industry engagement. Part of the reason that the role exists as an industry fellow is to really try and bring industry into the university. but that cuts across a couple of different levels. So. it’s around industry participation with students and student projects, but it’s also around industry research projects. So, you know, part of the revenue stream of a university is doing research projects for industry partners. I work across all of those different levels of industry engagement.
[00:05:33]Mel or Dom: [00:05:33] And are you finding that the industry engagement is getting better with the universities as time goes on?
[00:05:39] Alex: [00:05:39] Yeah, I think absolutely. , it’s certainly the emphasis, at all universities. I can only really speak for Australia when I say this, but you know, all universities in Australia have a lot more emphasis on industry engagement. Because it’s very important for the students. it’s also a big part of their, learning and development and also accreditation of engineering course with engineers, Australia to have some industry participation in some way.
[00:06:06] So it used to be that you had to do your three months of internship in order to graduate. now the focus is shifting somewhat because you’re allowed to have an industry sponsored capstone project as a replacement for that internship. so there’s, the need for students to be engaged with industry, of course, because a vast amount of our students end up in industry.
[00:06:27] They don’t end up staying in academia. and also, there’s research projects which are industry sponsored, and a lot of the grants schemes all revolve around industry participation. So it starts to become really important for researchers to get a little bit cozy with industry on research problems.
[00:06:45] For sure.
[00:06:47] Mel or Dom: [00:06:47] It sounds like you’ve landed quite a pivotal role, that connection between industry and university.
Alex: [00:06:53] so I ended up working in manufacturing, which is not really where I anticipated I’d necessarily end up. but through my time working with titanium, I guess I worked my way down the value chain and I happened to start working with titanium and other metals.
[00:07:10]around the time that metal 3D printing started to become really popular and started to become a little bit more industrialized. So a lot of commercial companies started to pick up and take notice of additive manufacturing as a technology. So that was my entry point into manufacturing. but through that, and this is where I get to my hot topic.
[00:07:27]I started to develop a real appreciation for manufacturing. I worked with a lot of manufacturing companies. when I was at CSIRO and then later, when I was working as a consultant and now obviously at RMIT and a real thorough appreciation for manufacturing businesses, particularly in Australia.
[00:07:44] And I’ve done a lot of thinking around what manufacturing means for us as a nation. So we’ve had this somewhat speckled relationship with manufacturing because we’ve really just seen the auto industry and what that has meant for us as Australians, as manufacturers. We’ve had a very, very heavily protected manufacturing industry , which has allowed for it to really flourish and grow , and has really incubated a lot of skills in Australian engineers, but also scientists, technicians and designers. But then we’ve seen all of that close down and it’s almost like manufacturing became a dirty word there for a period of time, because it was just associated with layoffs and old acronystic industry that wasn’t really forward thinking that required huge subsidies to make it worthwhile.
[00:08:34] And I think what’s less known and appreciated is that we have a really fabulous skills base in design and engineering and in manufacturing in Australia, and there needs to be a home for that skills base. and probably more importantly, industries like manufacturing, they really incubate and middle class.
[00:08:59] So unlike primary industries like agriculture, minerals, food production, they tend to be less labor intensive. They tend to concentrate wealth with a select few. Whereas sectors such as manufacturing really grow a middle class.
[00:09:16] And it’s because they’re high wage jobs. they are also jobs multipliers. So for every one manufacturing job you have, there are four other jobs that you’re creating into the economy through manufacturing, which is unlike other sectors that we have in our country. Uh, so it’s really actually very important for Australia to have a manufacturing sector.
[00:09:35]The question becomes what kind of manufacturing do we do because we’ve already seen what’s happened through the auto industry and what doesn’t really work in our context anymore. It then raises the question. Well, all right, well , what sort of manufacturing is Australia good at?
[00:09:51] And as it turns out, there is a lot of manufacturing that’s happening, albeit, nowhere near as much as what we used to have as a percentage of our GDP, but a lot of really impressive high tech, high value manufacturing companies, making products that are niche, specialized, world-leading. and these are the kinds of businesses that I believe we really need to support and to celebrate as well, because they really don’t get enough credit for the incredible work that they do.
[00:10:23] But the point is, is that not only do they provide a home for the wonderful skills base that we do have in Australia, but they also deliver back to the economy by that jobs multiplier effect.
[00:10:35]Mel or Dom: [00:10:35] the opportunity that’s there for that high quality, highly engineered manufacturing. So it’s almost as though we should be pitching ourselves if there’s something unique that you need than we’re the place to go to. we obviously have the engineers and the technical ability to be able to do those sorts of things.
[00:10:54] And is Manufacturing getting that help so that they can shift towards that in Australia, or is it something that is progressing and evolving?
[00:11:02] Alex: [00:11:02] Yeah, I think it certainly progressed. Just a huge amount since I started working in manufacturing. there’s been some good initiatives such as there was the Advanced Manufacturing CRC which really supported research. And now there’s the Innovative Manufacturing CRC, which supports manufacturing research.
[00:11:20] There’s the industry growth centers. So the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Center, that’s a federally funded body that has done a lot of really great work in understanding what manufacturing is in Australia, what it means, where we do really well, where our competitive advantages and what we really need to look forward to and support better and has gone and supported a number of businesses.
[00:11:42]There’s always room for improvement. And I think that there are a couple of probably real sticking issues facing manufacturing at the moment. one of them is there seems to be I would say a lack of Government focus. And that if you really want to pursue manufacturing as a sector that will be a jobs creator and an export producer as well – cause you know, so many of our successful manufacturers are exporters. The really successful ones are, and pretty much by default to be successful, you have to be an exporter. So yeah, the lack of government support, you need to have support from both sides of government cause election cycles come and go. and there needs to be a real bipartisan agreement that manufacturing is a priority for Australia. And I don’t believe that either side of politics at this point really strongly feels that, or has that very firmly in there on policy agenda.
[00:12:36]I think that there’s also a lack of investment in manufacturing or a lack of ability to invest or even appetite for investment. And that’s because our investment landscape, , is very oriented around mining and banking basically , and the share market as well. And these are not the kinds of investment that manufacturing benefits from. Manufacturing has a longer payback period. It’s also quite capital intensive. So for an investor that can be a bit off putting when it’s just easy to throw some dollars into the share market and get a nice return in a few months, much more satisfying to do it that way. so I think that’s a little bit of an issue. That’s a little bit of a challenge for manufacturers.
[00:13:19] Mel or Dom: [00:13:19] that one sounds tricky.
[00:13:21] Alex: [00:13:21] It’s very tricky in Australia. And it’s also around our mentality, you know, I just our mentality of investment. If you look at the States their highest growth companies or most wealthy companies, they’re constantly changing , they’re all very technology based they’re, they’re all Competing against each other and out competing each other which is why you see the makeup of those companies change over time. Whereas in Australia, it’s very, very stable. You know, you’ve got those top 10 companies that stay pretty much the same the whole time, and they’re largely dominated by mining and banking.
[00:13:53] So it’s just a different landscape for us. And the other one, which is something that I think has really come into focus over the last. Wow really, probably 10 years, but five years particularly is, energy prices. So any increase in energy price directly eats into your bottom line as a manufacturer. And energy is what powers our nation, it keeps us industrialized and going back to the comments around government focus and support and bipartisanship… well, I think we’re seeing a real lack of bipartisanship around energy policy, and it’s of huge disappointment to me. I really hope we can make things better in 2020 and beyond.
[00:14:34]Mel or Dom: [00:14:34] Yeah, cause it really does shut the manufacturing industry out because it is that bottom line aspect as well, where particularly from investors, they’re just going to say, well, if I can do that, I can do it cheaper overseas, where. Someone else’s manufacturing it because labour costs are lower and the actual cost of manufacturing is lower.
[00:14:52] It really stops any possibility of building on that market and building on that industry. When did you say it’s such an important part of industry? the sad part is we have all the resources here. with all that mining that goes on and then we send it somewhere else to manufacture it rather than spending time manufacturing it in Australia and growing that market as well.
[00:15:13] But, Is there a solution to this? Do you think that there’s a way forward that we should be going with manufacturing?
[00:15:19]Alex: [00:15:19] well, if we can solve all those three issues that I just outlined, I just saw mobile.
[00:15:32]Mel or Dom: [00:15:32] To the government and then go, there you go. We fixed it. because I didn’t notice that when you were listing off the issues, you were kind of like giving the solution as well. I’m like, Oh, okay, cool. That’s good. But I just want to clarify something what I’m gathering is that… if I look at a bigger picture here, where in the olden days we would have manufacturing plants, people would work in, I think my mum even worked in a sharpener factory at one day, putting sharpeners together or something like that. but that’s manufacturing what you’re talking about and they’ve all been sent overseas to what Dom was saying, like the cheaper labor, cheaper running costs, things like that. and what we’re experiencing now is an evolution in the manufacturing industry in that we can manufacture in different ways. so we might never get those sharpener factories back that my mum used to work at, but what is the face of manufacturing? What could. What are we manufacturing?
[00:16:27] Alex: [00:16:27] So the word that you used there was, we’ve gone through an evolution and I would almost say we’ve gone through a transformation because of that, really rapid, pretty rapid in terms of history, clawback of protectionism that dessimated manufacturing and really, really went from, I think 25% of our GDP to a single digit percentage… I wouldn’t say overnight, but very, very quickly in the scheme of things. ,and Should we be producing sharpeners? No, we don’t need to and this is what we’re talking about mass manufacturing of low volume products. It doesn’t make sense to do that in Australia, ,where it does make sense is low volume, high value, high tech, niche type products. and so in the area that I work in, a manufacturing, additive manufacturing, 3D printing, it plays really beautifully to that value proposition, , because we’re 3D printing. It is a low volume manufacturing technology. it’s also one where you can produce really high performance products and also produce customized or personalized products.
[00:17:32] So you start to then get right into that high value product, niche, product. High-performance, really being able to compete on value and not on cost. And that’s really where if you could sum it up, that’s where the future of manufacturing is for Australia.
[00:17:50]Mel or Dom: [00:17:50] And so that niche area is that being hampered by those issues of the lack of government focus, lack of investment and energy prices. So if we can fix all those problems, the Australian manufacturing of that niche product. We’ll actually bloom. Is that what I’m hearing?
[00:18:07] Alex: [00:18:07] Yeah. Yeah. And you know what it kind of like it is anyway, it is sort of in spite of those challenges it just could do so much better. in this transformation period we’re making our way out of it. I don’t feel that we’ve got a, kind of a decent level of critical mass at this point.
[00:18:25]Mel or Dom: [00:18:25] What I find more annoying is that the politicians just go, Oh, the manufacturing industry is dead. Like there’s, there’s no point in drawing.
[00:18:33] We need to become the spider company and get more involved in this, that, and the other, just like, no, you need to actually get involved in manufacturing, but you just need to pick the right manufacturing. You just need to be able to reduce the, the things that we can do differently to everyone else around the globe.
[00:18:49] Alex: [00:18:49] Yeah, I think the thing, yeah. You know Paul Keating had a big thing around service delivery, so we’re going to be like the service nation which there’s a lot of sense in that idea. Absolutely. I don’t dispute it whatsoever, but I think one thing that’s probably being quite overlooked and it’s probably because no one knew really about it at the time, but advanced manufacturing actually has a heavy, heavy component of service delivery. So it’s not just about pumping the sharpeners out of the factory and selling them and then forgetting about them. It’s about producing these high value niche products, but then doing a lot of customer support at the back end of that sale. And that ends up being a revenue stream for that company as part of a service delivery. So there’s very much a focus moving away from selling a product to delivering a service. and that’s where this idea that we should be a service nation. It’s like, well, yes, we should be. And we can be a service nation for our manufacturing goods. So we shouldn’t stop making things because actually that augments our service delivery.
[00:19:53] Mel or Dom: [00:19:53] You think with what’s going on with COVID in regards to the manufacturing area, particularly in regards to medical, it’s sort of highlighted the fact that you need to have that manufacturing industry, because there are going to be times when you can’t look to overseas to, to be supplying you with the goods that you need, that critical goods that you need, you need quickly.
[00:20:12]Alex: [00:20:12] Yeah. So, I mean, I think one thing that Australia probably hasn’t done particularly well is really map critical supply chains. And so not just for a pandemic but also for all types of global emergencies or disruptions to global supply chains. it’s about doing that mapping of those supply chains and then going right, if that’s cut off what then happens, what’s the flow through effect? How can we recover from that? what is it that we need to have access to? how do we plan and prepare for these things? Because, you know, pandemics, you know, happen, uh, global supply chains get cut off for all sorts of reasons. There are all kinds of reasons why we would be cut off from a critical supply chain. and it’s just actually leaving ourselves to chance a little bit too much in terms of those critical supply chains and causing us to be quite vulnerable as a nation. So it’s not smart.
[00:21:05] It’s definitely not smart. I’m not saying that we should be making face masks all the time, right. And, you know, exporting them. It’s probably not a, kind of a product that plays to our capabilities and our value proposition, all that much. I think what actually, if there’s maybe a silver lining in all of this though, is if we look at how we responded to the call to make products, how have we been able to really rapidly pivot our manufacturing industry, it has been able to do that largely it really has been able to rise to the challenge.
[00:21:38]So we’re making face masks now, we’re making hand sanitizer now, we’re making ventilators now. These are things we never made before. Right. Never made before, barely in this country. Certainly not to the level of sophistication that we needing to make them now. But in the matter of two months, the manufacturing industry has gone. Right. We can tool up for that. We’ll make it, don’t worry. and no one knew whether or not we’d be able to do that. That was never mapped out, but it did actually happen. And it happened very, very successfully, and very quickly. So, you know, you have to say, well, okay, that manufacturing industry you’ve just been neglecting the whole entire
[00:22:17] Mel or Dom: [00:22:17] Yeah.
[00:22:18] Alex: [00:22:18] you know, just, it just.
[00:22:22] Turned around and produced you all the goods that you happen to have needed in a pandemic. So maybe, maybe it’s probably worth paying a little bit of attention to that industry and ensuring that it survives and thrive. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:22:38] Mel or Dom: [00:22:38] Yeah. I mean, it’s, I have to say it’s it has been a bit of a good news story. That’s come out of this whole situation in that, the way that the Australian. Manufacturing industry has been able to respond. And as you said so successfully. I’ve never thought about the Australian manufacturing industry as much as I have these last few months.
[00:22:57]that’s a real silver lining, I’d say to the whole thing.
[00:23:00] Alex: [00:23:00] Yeah. it’s definitely important into sharp relief which is a good thing. It’s a good thing. Yeah we don’t need to be producing all these things all the time. I don’t support the idea that we need to bring back protectionism. but certainly the government needs to make smart choices around critical supply chains, because that just makes sense. That’s not about incubating businesses. That’s just about protecting Australians and looking after Australians in emergency situations.
[00:23:28]so you know, as much as manufacturing in Australia is doing very well in spite of those challenges. I feel that if you could address some of those issues, you’d almost just take the brakes off and let it really go full steam ahead and imagine how many wonderful engineers we can place in fabulous manufacturing jobs then.
[00:23:49]Mel or Dom: [00:23:49] So an exciting utopia and for those students that are coming through, what do you see is the future of engineering for them?
[00:23:58]Alex: [00:23:58] Yeah, well, I mean, engineering cuts across so many different industries, right. , and there are so many different possibilities for an engineering graduate and one of the biggest take homes for me as I think I was about to graduate and I went to a careers festival and there was a number of insurance companies and banks there.
[00:24:15] And I said, what do you want to, why you would an engineering careers expo? And they said, Oh, we hire engineers. We hire them all the time. They’re great problem solvers. And they’re very analytical. And I thought, Oh my goodness. Of course. Yes. That makes sense. So there’s there’s a lot of possibilities for future engineers in Australia, for sure. Not just manufacturing.
[00:24:35] Mel or Dom: [00:24:35] I believe there’s a lot of engineers sitting in CEOs chairs around Australia.
[00:24:39] Alex: [00:24:39] Exactly. And I’m on around board tables and yeah. Yeah.
[00:24:45] Mel or Dom: [00:24:45] definitely a career that can sort of take you wherever you want to go. What’s your advice for the engineers that are building the future?
[00:24:52]Alex: [00:24:52] so if you’ve graduated from an engineering degree, I would say. Well done you! You got through an engineering degree, that’s an achievement I know that feeling in itself. , fabulous work and also congratulations for making such an excellent choice. As we’ve just spoken about engineers can go ahead and do so many different things.
[00:25:16] So, when you graduate with an engineering degree, you have a piece of paper. And that piece of paper says, it says bachelor of engineering, but. In fact what it says when you read between the lines is I have a brain, I can use it, I know how to solve problems, and I know how to work with data and I know how to make things work and work in a team too. And those are great skills to have anywhere, you know, wherever you go in life in whatever career path you might choose. And as far as what’s my advice for future engineers would be really, it’s so important to just follow where your interest lies. for me, it’s always been around my curiosity, so I’ve just completely, always followed my nose as far as what do I find the most interesting at any given point in time? but that’s probably also just me. I don’t think I could ever wake up and get out of bed and be uninterested in my life or what I’m doing during the day. So, I think that for anyone to be engaged and interested in what it is that you do, that’s really the most important thing. And choosing a career in a future that aligns with your values and with your sensibilities as well, I think is really important.
[00:26:34]Mel or Dom: [00:26:34] Is there a piece of engineering that really impresses you?
[00:26:38] Alex: [00:26:38] Yes. when I went traveling for that year, quite a while ago I was in Scotland and had the opportunity to see the Falkirk Wheel. so I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it before, but it is just such a marvel. so what it is is there’s a series of canals you know, across the UK.
[00:26:56]and some of them are at different levels to each other. And so if you’re a boat, it’s impossible to go from one canal to another when they’re on different levels. so ordinarily you’d have this system of I think it’s called a lock and, you know, you kind of go in and the water pushes you off and then you’re off you go down the next canal. But in this spot in Scotland it’s actually in the town of Falkirk ,they installed the fell Kirk wheel and it’s literally like this big sort of double ended – it’s apparently it’s shaped like the Celtic double-headed hammer or something , but basically it works by bringing a boat into one side of this hammer, I guess you could call it, filling it with water and filling the other side with water and then a series of gears flips the boat up and into the next canal. And it’s really fascinating to watch. So when I was going through Scotland with her family had the opportunity to drop pass the Falkirk Wheel and also had the opportunity to see it in action.
[00:27:57] And it was yeah, really, really impressive. It’s enormous. It’s absolutely huge. I mean, it lifts a whole huge boat up ,and plops it into another canal and when you look at it, you kind of wonder how does that it’s, it’s sort of almost big as belief that it even works in a kind of a way.
[00:28:16] Mel or Dom: [00:28:16] I know you’ve explained it to me, but I’m going to be Googling that to see how it actually works. If there’s a video of it. When you said flip the boat, I’m like, Oh my God it lifts it up. So. I liked that one, the Falkirk Wheel.
[00:28:31] Thank you for bringing that one to our attention. Now, is there an engineer that you admire?
[00:28:38] Alex: [00:28:38] uh, can I cheat and talk about a scientist instead. I,
[00:28:45]Yeah. Well, look , I think this lady, she does have a lot of very engineering level sensibilities, so it’s Angela Merkel. and she’s just one of the most impressive human beings to me. she’s a quantum chemist and she was a researcher in her earlier days until she got into politics, but she’s known for her very steely reserve, being very determined. but she’s also known as being very compassionate as well. and I think it’s just so great to see not only a very impressive female later on the world stage playing the very, very significant role that she has played within the European union. But also one that has come out of a STEM field, as well and has gone into politics. I think that great to see that she’s been able to, I think, , use a lot of her STEM skills in her work as a politician now, chancellor, , you know, she’s done some great work. We’re talking about energy policy. I mean, she’s done amazing work around energy policy in Germany. Also, I think it’s worth noting and this is, this is not going to STEM it necessarily, but she’s also been very compassionate towards immigrants and refugees in allowing them into Germany and, and so to me, she’s just such a inspirational figure. And it’s always a bit of a point of pride that she comes from that STEM background. so she’s not technically an engineer, but she does come from the land of engineer’s. Right. And so I can, she’s got a fair sense of engineering. And so, um, so yeah, that would be mine.
[00:30:22]Mel or Dom: [00:30:22] No, I think that’s a great one. Thank you so much for bringing Angela out to our attention. I think I always call her Angela in my head when I read about her. I hadn’t realized her background, the, her STEM background.
[00:30:32] So I really do appreciate you bringing that to our attention.
[00:30:36] Alex: [00:30:36] And, you know what’s cool about her is that I think she flunked physics or something, but she, or she wasn’t very good at it or something like that in high school. And she chose to pursue physics at university, almost because of that. And to me, that like, that really speaks to her mentality of, you know, being very determined and I’ll prove you wrong.
[00:30:55] And, um, yeah, and I look in a little bit of a why I was probably a bit like that with maths. Cause there was a period of time where I really wasn’t that strong at maths that I just worked really, really hard at it through, high school and, you know, became quiet proficient to the point where I ended up choosing to do engineering. It was almost like I wasn’t going to let the maths get me down, you know, I feel like I can relate to her mentality a bit.
[00:31:22] Mel or Dom: [00:31:22] She’s rising to the challenge. Well rising above it and sort of…
[00:31:25] Alex: [00:31:25] dominating it.
[00:31:27] Mel or Dom: [00:31:27] Yeah. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thanks for joining us. It was great.
[00:31:32]Alex: [00:31:32] thank you for having me.
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