Since 2006 Nicola has been living in the UK and loves cycling on the weekend.
Nicola has always known about engineering as her step-father is an engineer. She really enjoyed Maths & Science, and decided to stick with something she enjoyed to see where that leaves.
She holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Environmental Engineering (with 1st Class Honours) and a Master’s of Engineering Science in Environmental both from the University of Western Australia.
Nicola is a Chartered Professional Engineer with over eighteen years’ experience, primarily in multi-disciplinary infrastructure projects. She has worked with Yarra Valley Water, Eight 2-0 (Thames Water), Atkins and the London Underground.
She is a Senior Project Manager for Gardiner & Theobald, and is on secondment to Transport For London, working on Major Stations doing station capacity upgrades with the aim of the stations to be step free and running ahead of Crossrail stations.
Nicola has been the Vice President of Engineers Australia UK Chapter for the past 18 months and was just made Fellow of EA.
Nicola’s first role after finishing university was in climate risk research. She investigated oceanic atmospheric interactions for rainfall looking particularly at a cloud band that brings rainfall to areas that don’t usually see rain. Was focusing on triggers of possible rainfall. Was most interesting.
Most rewarding was the role at Guernsey while working at Atkins. Her project was managing the construction of preliminary sewerage treatment works and storm tank to service the island which didn’t have any form of sewerage treatment. 20 months based on the island, got to see so much activity and progress with the project. Really enjoyed the experience of all the different constructions.
Hot Topic discussion
Nicola read Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe in 2018 and she recommends everyone read it “especially engineers”. It really changed her perspective.
“The true history of the indigenous population”
How well do you really know about the lives of the aboriginal people of Australia before first settlement? Bruce Pascoe wrote about “how developed the indigenous population really was, how advanced they were in their understanding, their knowledge. Even their engineering that they had put into practice…. I was shocked”. Some examples:
Evidence of farming and employing agricultural techniques
Bread oven equivalent
Developed seed crops more in tune of the Australian climate
The use of yams as a perennial crop that is terraced and doesn’t require tilling of the soil
Fish chases where they had modified streams for agriculture
“In the future, we need to be looking to the past to try and solve problems for the future with agriculture and employing techniques that are more in tune with our climate and our changing climate”
More conversations in society are needed to promote this issue and to get more people thinking in this direction.
During this podcast, you will also reflect on:
“engineering is a passport in itself”
Architects put on paper an amazing design, but “it’s engineers that have to make it work, they have to bring it to life.”
“I just feel quite often we’re the unsung heroes of the built environment.”
It’s who you know in the business – Nicola got her first London Underground stint after meeting some people in a pub that she was working at.
Advice to new engineers. “Get yourself out onsite as soon as possible because it’s a great learning environment.”
“I think it’s important that people speak up about what they want to do”. If you never ask, you’ll never get.
“What’s the future of engineering when you’ve got AI coming through?” Many people are scared of what the future will be like. But Nicola believes “I think there will always be a place for engineers” And “as problems solvers, engineers really need to be at the heart of the future of solving some of those major problems.”
Nicola’s wine cellar is impressive!
An engineering item for discussion…The London tunnel system and some of the stations being built are incredibly stunning.
An engineer to admire…Linda Miller is a great STEM ambassador. “She gives a lot back to the community”
Also have to give a shout out to Peter, her step-father. “Was definitely a big influence in me choosing this line of work”
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