Going through school, Alex was good at science and maths, but didn’t know what to do with it.
Then in her senior high school years she went on an excursion which visited a few different Australian universities. And while at the University of Wollongong her class was taken to the environmental engineering department and shown a solar powered water purification system being created for a developing country.
And in that moment, she knew…..
basically then and there I decided that I was going to be an engineer
Extra discussions during the episode
Future: Alex is excited by the future of engineering
In terms of gender diversity, I am hopeful and positive that there will be a change
Advice: It is daunting to start, but don’t be deterred
never stop asking questions and never stop learning
Finds all engineering admirable
I am impressed by all the processes and different people working together to make these things happen
Engineers that do more than just their day job.. people like Dom!
Alexandra is a Chartered Geotechnical Engineer with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the ANU and a Master’s degree in Engineering science, majoring in geotechnical engineering, from the UNSW.
She has 9 years’ experience working with Douglas Partners Pty Ltd (DP) where she is a Project Manager, an Associate of the company and the Geotechnical Section Manager of the Canberra Branch.
Alex is passionate about providing a high level of service to her clients, improving gender diversity in engineering, encouraging young engineers to understand their role in society, becoming chartered and giving back to the community.
And in 2020 she was awarded as Canberra’s Young Engineer of the Year.
This is a “close” copy of the words that were spoken during the Podcast, Season 4 Episode 21
It is not 100% accurate.
The guest was Alexandra Radulovich
Alex: [00:00:00] I just thought, wow, this is amazing.
[00:00:02] This is what I want to do. and basically then and there I decided that I was going to be an engineer.
[00:00:07]Mel or Dom: [00:00:10] did you know any other engineers?
[00:00:11] Alex: [00:00:11] My dad is an engineer , but he just sort of runs a construction company. So it doesn’t necessarily work as an engineer. So my dad was an engineer, but I didn’t really know what he did so much.
[00:00:26] Mel or Dom: [00:00:26] And because you’re not dealing with solar panels or things like that, you’re geotechnical engineer. So how did you get into that stream?
[00:00:36] Alex: [00:00:36] So that was pure chance really. So when I was an undergraduate, I did work experience with my company as an environmental engineer. but with my company, it’s more contamination testing of soils and groundwater, which I didn’t mind it, but I wasn’t really the environmental engineering that I wanted to get into.
[00:00:53]Then when I graduated, I was just looking for a job and just applying for different jobs. So I had majors from my degree at ANU in material mechanical systems, environmental systems, and renewable energy technologies. So I had a bit of a range of jobs to apply for. Then I saw a job for a graduate geotechnical engineer, and I thought, I’ll look, I did work with this company.
[00:01:16] you know, I did my work experience with them. So, you know, might have a shot at this position. So I applied and because in Cambra, you can’t study civil engineering unless you’re at ADFA, although now you can study and be a civilian at ADFA but when I was studying you couldn’t, so there’s not many civil engineers in Canberra, so my boss was having troubles.
[00:01:36] Yeah. Yeah. So my boss was having troubles, finding a graduate geo-tech. And basically I wasn’t the ideal candidate, I suppose, because I didn’t have that civil background, but, you know, he said, look, you’ve got the engineer’s mindset. I can train you up to be a geotechnical engineer. So he gave me the job and yeah, started there.
[00:01:55] Mel or Dom: [00:01:55] yeah. Right. I did know that about civil engineering.
[00:01:58] Alex: [00:01:58] Yeah.
[00:01:59]Mel or Dom: [00:01:59] And can you just explain just briefly, what does this geo tech engineer do?
[00:02:05] Alex: [00:02:05] So basically we’re experts of dirt and rock. Sometimes fair to, as a dirt doctor, a rock doctor, which I quite like. we look at everything below the ground for all types of construction or anything that’s built on or below the ground. So tunnels, bridges, roads, buildings.
[00:02:21] Solar farms, everything. So we get an understanding of the ground and how that will impact whatever the development is. And yes, that’s basically what a geotechnical engineer does in a broad sense.
[00:02:32] Mel or Dom: [00:02:32] I was wondering, cause when we were asking why you got into engineering, I was waiting to hear the whole, I love rocks. Well, something like that. And when I did I’m like, how did this all happen? So,
[00:02:43] Alex: [00:02:43] Yeah. That came with it.
[00:02:46]So when I was younger, like I didn’t have much interest in geology, but when you are working with it you really do get into it. And then I do love my rocks now, but not so much when I was going through school.
[00:02:56]Mel or Dom: [00:02:56] so after you completed your degree can you remember what your first project was that you worked on?
[00:03:01] Alex: [00:03:01] so not really the first product I worked on. So in the first few months, as a graduate engineer, or geo-tech engineer, I just shadowed a more experienced engineer. I remember going to a lot of construction sites, looking at foundations for multi-story buildings and other earthworks jobs just where they’re sort of placing fill and paying for big subdivisions.
[00:03:23] So I remember just, yeah, shadowing them and doing a lot of that, then not really exciting stuff. It’s just basically, really? Yeah. Just learning about the soil and subsurface conditions. You just, I need to get your handle on that. And then When I was experienced enough to go out on my own, I just did test pit excavation for residential flat classifications, which is just basically what you need to build a house.
[00:03:45] It’s a really basic stuff that sort of the, the first projects that I vaguely remember working on. But yeah, I just remember shadowing people a lot.
[00:03:52]Mel or Dom: [00:03:52] Okay, well, that’s, that’s actually reassuring to hear cause a lot of engineers we hear, they get thrown in the deep end….
[00:03:58] They left me on this project.
[00:04:03] Alex: [00:04:03] Yeah.
[00:04:04] Mel or Dom: [00:04:04] Right. All and, and told me to build an oil rig and
[00:04:09] Alex: [00:04:09] Yeah.
[00:04:10] Mel or Dom: [00:04:10] university. So seriously, there was somebody who just had to yeah. Um, but yeah, well that’s peaceful way to get into it there.
[00:04:17] Nice, And, um, from that lovely peaceful start, where are you now?
[00:04:25] Alex: [00:04:25] So now I’m still with the same company and I’m a project manager. So I’ve been a project manager for four or five years. So I’m running my own projects. I’m also the geotechnical section manager in the Canberra division. So… so yes, now I’m working my own projects, which is, it is a lot more exciting and it’s a lot bigger than just the sort of residential that I started on.
[00:04:47]Mel or Dom: [00:04:47] What sort of projects?
[00:04:49]Alex: [00:04:49] all sorts. So over the year I usually have a one or two solar farms, substations, road widenings, road extensions, bridges, usually a couple of those. and there’s lots of, sort of small scale construction inspections. So that is still for residential developments and industrial developments. So still a wide range.
[00:05:09]Mel or Dom: [00:05:09] are you seeing a lot more solar farms cropping up? Cause I know we drove down through Canberra just recently and there were solar farms a plenty. there are a lot more than what we’d seen in previous trips.
[00:05:19] Alex: [00:05:19] Yes, they are popping up and they are one of my favorite projects to work on because. I do have a passion, you know, I did want to be an environmental engineer and work with renewable energy, but that didn’t end up happening, but I still do it in this way. So yeah. I really love my solar farm projects. I think I’ve done about 10 in the last four years, which it’s sort of, I don’t know if it’s a lot or not, but yeah.
[00:05:39] It feels like it and yeah. Whereas previously not so much, but the, yeah, there’s usually a couple each year and obviously I’m not the only one that’s doing investigations for them, so yeah, they are cropping up, which is awesome.
[00:05:49] For me, gender diversity is a bit of a strange topic because being a female in engineering has never really bothered me like being a minority. I’ve always been a bit of tomboy and I’ve never been bothered by working solely with men because I’ve always had a lot of male friends.
[00:06:12] So it’s never really bothered me. And I haven’t had any really bad experiences that have made me interested in this challenge. for me, it’s more that. In the last few years, I feel like I’ve really come into my own as an engineer and I’m starting to as a manager, but I still got a bit to learn there, but I just really, really, really love my job.
[00:06:33] And not a lot of people can say that. And just at some point it started to bother me that there might be young girls who could become women like me, that would be really satisfied with a career in engineering, but they might not get the inspiration or motivation to study engineering and essentially miss out on that opportunity.
[00:06:52] So that’s sort of why it’s important to me somehow. I just made that connection and it just started to bother me in the last couple of years, even though my whole career the topic has not been an issue for me.
[00:07:03]Mel or Dom: [00:07:03] So you’re saying you’ve never actually experienced any bias or anything like that in your career.
[00:07:09] Alex: [00:07:09] So to be honest, I used to say that I used to say that I have not been adversely affected by the lack of gender diversity in engineering, but recently, and actually in, in sort of thinking more about the topic for this podcast, I did start to think about it a bit differently. I still will say I’ve always been really lucky.
[00:07:28] I work for a great company where I’ve always been fully supported and you know, many of our directors are men’s Champions of Change and, and other men in the company are men’s Champions of Change. And one of the things that my company did to sort of improve conditions for women in the company is a session we did a few years ago.
[00:07:48] So my company does what we call a technical seminar every year. We get all our staff from across the country to meet in Sydney for just a session, just a weekend of learning. We run seminars on the work that we do for our peers. So a few years ago, our manager director Will , he organized for all the women in the company to stay an extra day after the weekend and with a mediator.
[00:08:12] So he wasn’t there for all of it. We just had this really big open discussion on how we felt as women in engineering. What were our experiences? . Did we feel will supporting or there’s anything lacking or what we can do? What can be done to improve it?
[00:08:28]And a lot of the women shared some pretty intense stories and it was just a really intense day. it was really emotional and it actually took a few days to get over. So basically there, I heard about women who felt like their careers didn’t matter as much as their male counterparts, they didn’t feel like they were supported or didn’t have the same training opportunities as men. That was particularly the case for those with kids , women spoke about being told to tone down their personalities, cause they’re a bit too much. and even some sort of said that they were disrespected on construction sites and even sexually harassed. So that was all really quite hard to take in.
[00:09:12] And like I said, it’s not an experience that I’ve had, but the one thing I have always said, because I’ve been asked this question a few times, like, you know, what is it like being a woman engineering? And I just say, look, I’ve worked for a great company and I’m really lucky in Canberra. I’ve always been treated with respect on construction sites and aside from one incident I haven’t been sexually harassed on sites. And so on I’ve said this to a lot of people, right. And it’s only really recently that I had the thought, I was like, okay. Well, hang on, like I’ve got nine years experience now. And I was like, what male in my position would sort of reflect on their career and say with all honesty, like I am really lucky that after nine years of working as an engineer, I’ve always been treated with respect for my opinion. And I’ve not been sexually harraessed.
[00:10:03] You have to laugh because it’s. It’s uncomfortable and, and it is a bit awkward.
[00:10:08] Mel or Dom: [00:10:08] You shouldn’t need to throw that word lucky in there either. It should just be, yeah, you got to work in your respected at work that’s done on here. It doesn’t matter. your gender or your background, or any of those sorts of things. It’s about engineering. If you’re a great engineer, then you should be respected for what you do.
[00:10:28]It’s just really that simple.
[00:10:29] Alex: [00:10:29] Exactly. It really is that simple. And it’s something that I’ve only said it so many times and I’ve never really thought, hang on, what’s wrong with this picture? You know,
[00:10:36] Mel or Dom: [00:10:36] so was that session an eyeopener for you? Is that, was that a turning point for you or had you been feeling it already?
[00:10:44] Alex: [00:10:44] No, I think I’d already been feeling it already. Like, I mean, I might not have heard the stories before, but I guess it’s that thing. So I did a session called why girls totally rock recently. And it was just sharing my journey as a, an engineer aimed at young girls and boys.
[00:11:01]and one of the questions at the end of it. I didn’t know where the questions came from or who asked them, but there was a question that was, what do you do when you’re told that you’re just a girl in a man’s job and you know, you don’t know what you’re doing.
[00:11:14]And somebody asks me that question. And then I said, Oh, I’ve never been told that, you know, and if you ever are, that’s not right.
[00:11:20] And just the fact that that question was still asked, people are thinking about it. So, sometimes when I do go to a new construction site where I don’t know anyone, I do get this bit of anxiety and think, Oh, how are they going to take me? And I don’t know, maybe whether that’s related to being a female or not, I can’t say, and it’s not debilitating.
[00:11:38] It’s just sort of bit of nerves.
[00:11:39] Mel or Dom: [00:11:39] It’s just, it’s an extra little awareness that perhaps if you were a guy you wouldn’t have that thought running through your head coming onto site.
[00:11:47] Alex: [00:11:47] exactly. Exactly.
[00:11:49] So one of the other things that I have started to realize, but I guess not really acknowledged in the last couple of years is that I have been starting to have a couple of episodes of imposter syndrome.
[00:12:02]So it has happened on construction sites. So I’ve basically been called to go to a site, usually because there’s some sort of issue that they need help with and, you know, I’ve, I’ve done my assessment and I’m telling them what I think they should do to move forward.
[00:12:17]And. You know, more often than not, it will be to an audience of men. So it might be some slight foreman, other contractors and site engineers. And so I’m giving them my advice and I can tell that they’re listening to me and that they think my advice is good, and that I’m being helpful.
[00:12:35]But then I get this, this, yeah, it’s really weird to talk about, but I have this sort of just like a side thought and it it just sort of says, who are you and why are you giving this advice? Like, what do you know what you’re talking about and why are they listening to you?
[00:12:50] And it can literally be while I’m talking. And it’s really, really uncomfortable and awkward. And it does pass. I know people will, some people with imposter syndrome, it is more of an ongoing thing, but for me it is just these sort of little, little flashes, but then I’m like, Oh, what was that? Like, I don’t like that, that feeling of uncertainty and feeling out of place.
[00:13:12]it’s also happened around the office. in the last couple of months, I’ve moved into my bosses office, which is weird in itself because you know, for 8.5 years of my career, I’ve got that office for advice and mentorship and that sort of thing. So now I’m in there because my boss has been built a new office downstairs and I was made the section manager about a year ago.
[00:13:34] So, you know, just this decided that I would be the person to take that office. So again, I would be in that office and now I have the junior engineers coming in to see me and tell me about their day on site and what they found them on my jobs. And they might ask me what I want them to do or for other advice.
[00:13:52] And, and I’m talking to them and giving this advice. And then again, I just have this little side thought that is just like, what are you doing? Like, what are you doing in here? And why are you talking to them like that? You don’t know what you’re talking about. And it’s, it’s really awkward.
[00:14:06] And I know that men do experience imposter syndrome as well. I did do a little bit of reading on it. And one thing I did read is that women and in particular, women of color can be more susceptible to feelings of imposter syndrome because they can’t see someone that is like them doing what they’re doing.
[00:14:28]So I think this is something that has started to come on to me, as I have taken on a more senior engineering role. yeah, so I think this is sort of like a less direct impact of gender diversity. Because if, you know, if I had more women mentors at work, than I’m sure I wouldn’t be having these feelings.
[00:14:49]Mel or Dom: [00:14:49] So that question during that webinar would have been like a knife through the, right through like, Oh no. You went straight to the core there and yeah, I was wondering if you had drawn the connection between the topic of gender diversity and the imposter syndrome.
[00:15:10]Alex: [00:15:10] Yeah, it is. And that’s what I think previously, I didn’t really connect me. Like I literally, I’m just always like, yeah, nah, I’m not impacted. I’m not adversely affected. But then I realized there is more to it, than I initially thought I’m by the influences on me.
[00:15:23] Mel or Dom: [00:15:23] That’s interesting.
[00:15:25] Alex: [00:15:25] I do have another thing that happened earlier this year, which again, it’s just one of those things that made me realize that yeah, that I’m not as unimpacted as I thought. So I’ve been asked by our HR department to share a story on diversity for a welcoming cocktail dinner for some of our newcomers.
[00:15:45] So the night before that I was approached by the branch manager in our Melbourne office, Greg, and sort of Greg came up to when he said, Oh, Alex, I heard that you’ve, you know, you’ve been asked to share a story on diversity for intro night for the newcomers.
[00:15:58] And I said, Oh yeah, I have. And so he’d been asked as well and, and neither of us were really sure what story we’re gonna share or what to say. So we’ll just throwing around ideas and, and talking about the topic of diversity. Then I told him the story of when I got promoted. So all our promotions happen at the technical seminar.
[00:16:19] So we have a big dinner on a Saturday night and they announced promotions among other things. I’d been with the company for six and a half years. And I got announced as being promoted to an associate. And it was really, it was such a surprise and it felt a bit early based on the levels of like the years of experience of other people that are up on stage. And this was also not that long after we’d had that session on, how to improve conditions for women in the company. So I got this promotion and then the thought entered my head.
[00:16:56] Did I get this promotion because I’m a woman? And then the worser thought after that is what are the men in the company got to think? Particularly those that might have hoped to get promoted that year. So when I told it to Greg, like his reaction was, it was really overwhelming.
[00:17:13] So he was quite emotional and he was like, Alex, are you for real? Are you serious? That, that is awful. And he was so earnest. And so like visibly upset for me. And I was just like, yeah. Wow, I guess was pretty crappy to have those feelings. it’s just these thoughts that I think as a woman, they just come and you just deal with them and you’re just kinda used to it. You don’t think, Oh, this is not normal to be thinking like this.
[00:17:38]So I know the directors better in the company then to just give a promotion for that reason. Like they, they take promotions very seriously.
[00:17:45] And I do work really, really hard in my job. And I honestly put my heart and my soul into my company. So I know I wasn’t promoted because I was a woman, but I still had those thoughts and it still took a while to shake them. And then again, the simple, the thing is that if there were an equal number of men and women in the company that will translate to the promotions and to the senior staff, there’d be more women everywhere and it wouldn’t be such a, Oh, look, a, a woman’s promoted.
[00:18:17]It’s a more subtle impact than I realize.
[00:18:21]Mel or Dom: [00:18:21] It’s wonderful that you work at a company that Greg he was just as shocked as you were. And that’s, that’s really encouraging too, that obviously the promotion was based on merit and it’s horrible that that thought would even have to enter your head. Like it’s really sad, but it’s great that you were working for a company that. So that thought didn’t enter their head when they were making in the first place.
[00:18:46]Alex: [00:18:46] even on that night that I was given the promotion, I was approached by some of the directors and they congratulated me and said, you know, well-deserved. Like really enforcing it and it sorta took hearing that a few times.
[00:18:58] Mel or Dom: [00:18:58] I liked the overarching theme that you’ve done here, though, in that you’ve shone a light on gender diversity, the hidden side of it. So the dark side of the coin, so to speak. So possibly when people think of the impacts of gender diversity, they think of the things in your face. So the, the harassment that’s in your face, the being overlooked during promotions, unflexible working conditions that aren’t supporting the household.
[00:19:28] Like those things that are very visual and obvious. What you’re talking about is the other side of the problem of gender diversity, in that it’s underminds. It’s that undermining quality of not having the role models to see what you’re doing to, to follow along with, it’s not having the mentors on hand to just unconsciously boost you and say, yes, you know, I’m walking the path that she is and things like that.
[00:19:58] It’s been great to highlighting that because it is that, as Mel said, there’s, there’s the known, there’s those things that are a waste is putting in front of you, but you forget about the impact that it has on the actual person, not in regards to things that are being done to them, but the things that they’re personally thinking about. thoughts that shouldn’t even creep into their head because they shouldn’t have to creep into their head.
[00:20:18]It’s just really interesting to actually draw that parallel, but you’d never really even think of.
[00:20:24]Alex: [00:20:24] it’s something I hadn’t thought of it before. And in all the, in your face things, I’ve had a great career. I’ve had my mentors sort of championed my promotions and, and my development and I’ve just been so fully supported. And like I said, none of these issues that other women had.
[00:20:39] So yeah even for me, it sort of took some thought, I’m like, well, hang on. It, hasn’t all been, you know, shiny roses or whatever.
[00:20:46]Mel or Dom: [00:20:46] Sunshine lollipops. Yeah.
[00:20:49]I like though what you were talking about is that you sprinkled, while you’re talking about the challenge there, you were sprinkling the solutions in, and I had to hold myself back a couple of times and jumping straight into the solutions because it went so deep.
[00:21:04]I’d like to go back to the beginning because you, you seem to have jumped into engineering just because there wasn’t anything holding you back.
[00:21:13] You loved it. You just did it. You went there and you did it, but. If the key thing is to get more women into engineering, how let’s start that’s step one. I would see. so what can we do there?
[00:21:27]Alex: [00:21:27] So for me the saying, which I had heard many times before, but never really thought about it that much, you can’t be what you can’t see, which probably goes back to some of the struggles that I’m having with not having a, female mentor. so for me, I’m trying to put myself out there as a female engineer.
[00:21:43]So I did my webinar, Why Girls Totally Rock, which that was the intention of that. So I basically want to put myself out, there as a female engineer for both young boys and girls, just to normalize the idea of female engineers. So that that’s, the boys could be like, Oh, you know, girls or women are engineers as well.
[00:22:00] And for the young girls, hopefully. To inspire them to maybe consider a career in engineering. So hopefully if I share the things that I do in my job as a geotechnical engineer and my journey, and hopefully some girls might see that and be like, You know, it’s just the way I was with that research project, University of Wollongong, you know, they might be like, Oh, that’s kind of cool.
[00:22:22] You know, I could, I could do that when I grow up. So that’s sort of one side of it.
[00:22:27]the other thing I think needs to be done, and I sort know the, what but, I don’t know how, but just there needs to be more exposure on what engineers can do, not just what they do, but what they can do. So as part of my, why girls totally rock webinar.
[00:22:42] I did ask a few kids, you know, what do you think an engineer is? So I think they were age somewhere from like, you know, seven to 16. And the general consensus was that engineers design and build things. I’m an engineer and I don’t build things and I don’t really design things either, not often anyway. So that’s misleading that people think that’s all that engineers do. Then I think. The issue sort of comes back. So, um, might be stereotyping a little bit, but I think in general, young men will keep enrolling in engineering degrees because intrinsically they think building and designing things is more interesting.
[00:23:23] If you’d asked me from ages five to 18/20, I dunno if you’d asked me, Oh, you know, do you want to have a career in building and designing things? I’d be like, yeah. Not, not really. Whereas if you’d asked me, do you want to have a career helping people in the environment? I would be like, yeah. Yeah. That’s something that I, I think I would want to do.
[00:23:44]I think there needs to be more exposure on what engineers can do. I remember I read, I think a research paper a couple years ago, which sort of was on this subject. How do you get more women into engineering? And basically it indicated that the way that you get more women into engineering is this to market engineering from the humanitarian side, which a hundred percent is what got mean.
[00:24:05] And I don’t work in that field now, so, but it got me into my degree and then it all flowed on from there. And I think that’s because women seem to be more interested in helping people . So I think that’s sort of one way to get more women into engineering, but how you do that,
[00:24:22] that’s a bit trickier,
[00:24:23] Mel or Dom: [00:24:23] engineering has a massive image problem.
[00:24:25] And I’m not saying that in so far as people respect engineers, it’s a very well respected career. but the problem is. So, as you were saying that people don’t understand what engineers do. So it’s more, and that’s the thing. And it’s actually part of the reason that we’re doing this podcast.
[00:24:42] And we were trying to have such a diverse range of people because it’s not all about. Building and design. there is such a diverse range of areas that engineers are in. And I think that’s what we need to get people to understand that there’s all these exciting careers the come out of it. And just cause you have the title of engineer, you don’t end up pigeonholed in one area. You can basically take it everywhere from, you know, from humanitarian efforts through to the CEO in multinational corporations.
[00:25:11]It’s a ticket to sort of anything, but I think that’s something that really needs to be put out there because then it will help just across the board getting men and women into engineering for the right reasons too.
[00:25:24] Alex: [00:25:24] exactly. Yup.
[00:25:25] Mel or Dom: [00:25:25] yeah.
[00:25:26] So there’s a lot of changes going on at the moment in the engineering community with everything. And you know, it sounds like your company is making great strides moving forward, but what can engineers expect of the future of engineering?
[00:25:41]Alex: [00:25:41] I think the future of engineering will always be exciting. They’ll always be new technology, even new types of engineers. I read somewhere the other day, there’ll be a new type of engineer for the ethics of artificial intelligence. And I thought, wow, that’s something new and interesting. so yeah, the future of engineering will always be exciting.
[00:25:58] In terms of gender diversity, I am hopeful and positive that there will be a change. hopefully it comes during my lifetime and my career, but who knows how long it’s going to take to change. But yeah, I I’m positive that, that there will be a change in, it will be driven by you Men’s Champions of Change and, more research on how to get women into engineering and just more focus on that.
[00:26:20] So I’m positive that it will change for the
[00:26:24] Mel or Dom: [00:26:24] better.
[00:26:25] Yeah. Yeah. I feel that as well. And so with all that change is coming, what would you say to people who are just starting out in engineering?
[00:26:33]Alex: [00:26:33] Oh, there’s a lot that you can say to engineers starting out, cause it is quite daunting when you first start as an engineer or any job, really? I think firstly, I would say to never stop asking questions and never stop learning. and then it’s really important to find a company where you are comfortable to do so and where you are fully supported and happy, and you’re surrounded by people that care about. And this is all everything that I’ve had. So this is what I’m like. You need to find this. If you’re starting off your career, you need to find a company that cares about your career and your progress. There’s people that you can learn from.
[00:27:09]The other thing that I do think is important is, taking the time, let’s say, as you, even when you’re just starting out as an engineer, taking the time to think about and understand the role that engineers have in society, because our decisions and our work does affect the communities we work in and people in general.
[00:27:32] And this does come back to getting Charted. So I’ve done a bit of work with Engineers Australia, and within my company to try encourage young engineers to include this in their career pathways.
[00:27:44] I think that’s something really important and something that I learned when I became chartered. Cause you just kind of go around doing your job as an engineer, but it isn’t just a job. Like there’s a lot of responsibility on your decisions and I think that’s something important to understand.
[00:27:57] Mel or Dom: [00:27:57] Yeah. We’ve spoken to people about that previously as well. Where, um, cause I know I did it when I was chartered to where it’s actually a really nice process because you, you go, you do a job and then you didn’t really get time to stop and think about what an impact that job’s made. And then you move on to the next one.
[00:28:15] You move on to the next one. And it’s not until when you’re going through that Chartered process that you actually, and you sit there and you have a look back on your career and you go, wow. Well forgotten. I worked on that. No. Oh, I forgot no idea. But you know, that, that happened in that, there was that massive challenge and I met that challenge by doing this.
[00:28:31] And so it’s a really good way to reflect on all the good work that you’ve done. And I think that that’s probably the one thing that. Yeah. The one thing charted really does for you that inadvertently makes you look back on just how good your career has been, to get to the point where you’re putting it down on paper to present it to Engineers Australia.
[00:28:51] So yeah, I definitely recommend it for people out there who are, was sort of thinking about it.
[00:28:57]we’re going to move on now to what is a piece of engineering that’s impressed you?
[00:29:02]Alex: [00:29:02] So I find all engineering impressive. Like if you think about any kind of engineering, even if you just see a plane in the sky, it’s, it’s pretty amazing. working mostly in the construction industry. I’m also really impressed by big constructs and even.
[00:29:19] Smaller ones that I’ve worked on when it starts to take shape and come out of the ground. I just am impressed by all the processes and different people working together to make these things happen. a particularly impressive construct that I did see was a LinkedIn video a couple of weeks ago.
[00:29:34] Couldn’t tell you where it was, but it was just some sort of mass body of water. You might’ve seen it if you scroll LinkedIn much, but anyway, they had, it was a mass body of water and they had these piles that had been constructed. And then I had these really intricate little mechanical systems extended just out into the open air and extended out from one peer to the next one.
[00:29:55] And then it carried people with it. It carried equipment and materials and, and it sort of constructed as it went along. that was really impressive because it’s one of those things that you look at and you’re like , Oh wow. That’s just flying across the sky and it’s, it looks impossible. And that’s why I think it’s just, yeah. When things are impossible and engineers make it happen. And I was, I was like, wow, that’s pretty awesome. I enjoyed that video.
[00:30:19] Mel or Dom: [00:30:19] just to finish things up. Is there an engineer that you admire?
[00:30:23]Alex: [00:30:23] So there’s not really just one engineer that I particularly admire. what I really admire is engineers that use their skills and their influence for the greater good of humanity. So this can be whether it’s internationally or within local communities. So I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of inspiring people, that have done work with engineers without borders, or RedR Australia, or just their own education initiatives.
[00:30:53] And yeah, I just, I really admire people that do more than just their day job as an engineer and really utilize their skills for something more. So I, yeah, I really admire that. Which includes you Dom sort of doing this podcast, which I hadn’t heard of, like prior to this. But it’s really great that you just you know, exposing them, challenges and engineering and exploring them and you’re doing it in your own time and yeah, I just think it’s awesome. And that’s yeah, I think that’s what I admire in an engineer. That’s someone that does that little bit more and there’s some in my company as well. we’ve started a people and communities panel, so it’s just sort of kicking off now and that’s putting together some framework to do philanthropic work. So there’s people within my company that I admire for these same passions that they have.
[00:31:36]Mel or Dom: [00:31:36] I’d like to take credit, but it’s all Mel, to be honest with you, this is a lovely note. So that’s a lovely note to add on to it. Cause the people who are using their skillset for more than just their day job and to point Dom out for that as well, is that it’s like, no one’s ever said that about them.
[00:31:56] Alex: [00:31:56] Oh, I like, it’s just, yeah, you’ve got to, I just think as engineers, you should do more and yeah. Yeah. And that’s what I am. I am trying to myself and it’s hard. Everyone’s busy, but I think it’s really important.
[00:32:14] Mel or Dom: [00:32:14] It’s amazing how much you get back when you do it. I honestly enjoy it. Probably get more from this podcast than, than what I give in a lot of respects though. Thank you. It’s very deep. So thank you so much for your time. Alex. Thank you so much. Don’t.. No imposter syndrome.
[00:32:43] Alex: [00:32:43] Yeah, try not to, but yeah, thank you for having me on.
[00:32:48]Mel or Dom: [00:32:48] It was very good. And on that,
I’d like to thank everyone for listening to another great episode of Engineering Heroes as we present the new dawn of engineering challenges for Engineers Australia. your hosts have been Melanie and Dominic De Gioia. You can view this episode show notes or learn more from our podcast by visiting our website, www.EngineeringHeroes.com.au
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