As 2020 begins to take shape, we caught up with new Townsville Regional Group Co-Chairs Emma King and Jason Hockings to understand their journeys as professional engineers.
Tell us about yourselves.
Emma: I was born on the Gold Coast and my family and I moved to Townsville when I was 3. Most of my career has been spent in Townsville except for a year when I worked in Cairns.
Outside of engineering I enjoy travelling, cooking/baking and going on multi-day hikes. My partner and I are hiking all 4,265km of the Pacific Crest Trail this year which should take us a bit over five months from April to September.
Jason: I am from Rockhampton, and my interests are in power system planning and the integration of new technology. Outside of engineering, I enjoy playing and watching sport.
What is your discipline?
Emma: Electrical Engineering.
Jason: Electrical Engineering.
Summarise your career path so far.
Emma: I completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) at James Cook University in Townsville, graduating in 2011. In 2011 I joined the Ergon Energy graduate program which is a three-year program consisting of several 3- or 6-month rotations. Some of the teams I worked in include Network Planning, Protection, Substation Operations, Distribution Test, Substation Design, Energy Sustainability and Market Development and Commissioning.
Upon completing the graduate program, I joined the Substation Design Standards team focusing on the development of capacitor banks design standards/specifications and substation earthing design standards. In 2017 my team underwent changes as part of the merging of Ergon Energy and Energex into the one company, Energy Queensland. As part of this, I transitioned to the Protection and Earthing team and became a senior engineering running a small team that is responsible for writing and supporting all earthing design standards for Energy Queensland.
Jason: I completed Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) at CQUniversity in Rockhampton before joining Ergon Energy as a Graduate Electrical Engineer in 2014. As a graduate engineer, I worked in the network planning, protection, network operations, substation operations and distribution network standards teams.
Upon finishing the graduate program, I joined the Connections Assessment team at Energy Queensland. In this role, I played a part in facilitating the connection of renewable generation and large load customers to the Ergon Energy and Energex networks.
In late 2018, I joined the regional northern networks team at Energy Queensland as a Senior Network Planning Engineer. In this role, I am responsible for identifying emerging constraints within the power network and identifying the most cost-effective solutions to manage and remove these constraints.
How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
Emma: I became a member of Engineers Australia when I was still studying at university.
Jason: Six years.
What do you find most satisfying about what you do?
Emma: I really enjoy developing solutions to a problem, especially when you first must figure out what the problem is. I also find it really rewarding being able to contribute to the engineering community through my work as an earthing specialist and my work with Engineers Australia.
Jason: The most satisfying part of being an engineer is being able to find solutions to complex problems.
What does being an engineer mean to you?
Emma: To me, being an engineer means being able to work with others from different backgrounds and with different skills to define problems and work on solutions to those problems. It does not mean knowing everything, rather knowing how to find the information you need.
Jason: To me, being an engineer means working together in a team to find solutions to problems that are in the best interest of our community.
What would be the one piece of advice you would give to others early in their career?
Emma: It is ok to not know everything. Whether you are a new engineer or someone who has been an engineer for 30+ years, you will always be learning and expanding your knowledge. If you don’t know or don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask and question people. And once you learn, teach someone else; the best way to prove to yourself that you understand something is to explain it to someone else.
Jason: Look for opportunities to expand your knowledge. This could be through attending CPD events, rotating through a different business unit or working on different projects. It could also be through undertaking further study and working towards your CPEng and RPEQ qualifications.