Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical)
Focus, live in the moment and give your present task the respect and attention it deserves – you can’t go back in time and try again
Joel completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Queensland University of Technology in December 2013. He started working at Aurecon in 2011 as an undergraduate and gained experience within Aurecon’s Resources & Manufacturing team as well as the Buildings team.
“When I first started working at Aurecon, I was involved in the Resources & Manufacturing unit and I found that I had extra time on my hands so I asked my manager if there was anything else that I could get involved in here at Aurecon. He made a few calls and asked if I would consider working in the Buildings unit, which deals with property, Building Information Modelling and building services. I didn’t know anything about this market, but I thought – why not? Let’s give it a go!” says Joel.
Joel says that he has always been interested in how things worked and the projects that he got involved in have been greatly rewarding.
“Moving into the Buildings team as a graduate has been a steep learning curve. Most of the things I learned at university relate to mechanical and machinery work, so I had to start at square one to gain a better understanding of how buildings and building services are put together,” says Joel.
One of the most surprising, fun and challenging things for Joel has been the amount of learning and innovation involved in projects.
“I thought that after completing my degree and working in the industry for a few years, I would have such a solid working knowledge of the engineering field that I wouldn’t have to refer back to my books in order to tackle new problems as they arise. It’s been eye-opening to realise that I haven’t had the same problem twice in the past two years and that I keep learning new things every day,” says Joel.
“My manager at Aurecon has been an engineer for ten years longer than I’ve been alive, so he is very experienced. We recently sat down with a complex problem relating to the heat modelling on an existing building with modelling software. He told me that he’s never done something like this either, so we’re coming up with a solution together.”
One of the relatively complicated projects that I worked on recently involved selecting equipment to cool major medical equipment housed within the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital, such as Linear Accelerators, CT scanners and MRI machines. The design required reviewing the vendor data to confirm the cooling requirements and the consequent review of the valve controls to ensure that adequate cooling will always be achieved. This was especially important considering the financial and programming risks associated with the failure of this equipment. It just goes to show that there will always be new things to learn and new challenges to overcome,” says Joel.
Joel has found working on the hospital to be an exceptionally gratifying experience.
“No two floors or departments of the hospital are exactly alike; each aspect has its own challenges. While some of the project involved intense design work, there were also other challenges such as ensuring that the original intent of the client was at the forefront of our engineering solutions and also ensuring that the design is clear to the tradespeople who would actually build from our designs. There are many aspects involved in engineering that you don’t realise when you start your career,” says Joel.
What drives Joel is being able to see Aurecon’s clients’ ideas come to life in a real, tangible way.
“Engineering is very tangible and even some of the first, smaller projects – like designing pipework – are rewarding when you see them go from something that’s on paper to a physical, working system. The Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital is a great example of why I’m driven in my career and why I’m passionate about this industry. People are going to be born and receive life-saving treatments at this facility. Every time I drive past it, I’ll be able to look at it and know that I contributed to the project and that this project will be a vital piece of infrastructure in the community for the next 50 years,” concludes Joel.