Kimbra Bridges is currently a Project Engineer at Engenium, we took some time to catch up with her about her role and career in Engineering.
1. What is your current job title and function?
I am a Senior Project Engineer, and my role involves managing a number of Engenium’s smaller projects.
2. What projects are you currently working on?
Most of my work usually involves non process infrastructure associated with either mining or railways, and given that I work on smaller projects it changes week by week. Over the last year I’ve worked on implementation projects for a mine haul road in Liberia; plant upgrades at existing mine sites in the Pilbara; a railway level crossing upgrade here in Perth for a new residential subdivision; feasibility studies for remote accommodation camps, rail flashbutt welding facilities, and heavy haul railways in the Pilbara; and a train unloading concept study in the goldfields.
3. What do you enjoy about working at Engenium?
I’ve gone back to uni to complete a second degree in architecture, and I really love how supportive the company is of my request to only work part time while I’m studying. Project Engineering is often viewed as a full time role, so Engenium’s willingness to let me work on smaller jobs that are better suited to part time work is fantastic. And, it means that I get to work on all sorts of different jobs for a number of clients – nothing’s the same twice!
4. What inspired you to pursue engineering?
It seemed like a good idea at the time?? More seriously, I’ve always been interested in the built environment, and how things get built. I wanted to be involved in the process of creating, so engineering seemed like a natural choice.
5. What is an important trait to have as an engineer?
In my area of project engineering, I’d say clarity of communication, good organisation and the ability to plan ahead are essential. Working on smaller jobs like I am now, the people I work with will all have three or four other projects on the go at the same time, so you need to respect that and find a way of getting the work done to meet everyone’s deadlines.
6. What advice do you have for young engineers just starting their career?
I think that it’s important to establish a solid technical grounding early-on, so take every opportunity you can get to work on different types of projects, and with different people to see how they tackle problems.
7. What is the most challenging project you have worked on?
For me the most difficult projects are fast-tracked jobs where requirements keep shifting constantly to suit new budget, schedule, or technical requirements. Trying to keep your team – and yourself – motivated when a lot of their hard work is discarded due to high-level changes can be very challenging.
8. What is your favourite engineering project through history?
Tough call. I have an old black and white photo at home of an engineer standing in front of a massive pile of reinforcing looking perplexed: reinforcing that ultimately ended up in the elegant shell of the Sydney Opera House. I am also inspired by the sheer tenacity it required to build a pipeline over 500 km long to supply fresh water to Western Australia’s goldfields at the start of the 20th century. I admire the clarity of vision both Jorn Utzon and C.Y O’Connor had in creating something worthwhile for future generations. Sadly, the personal toll these projects had on those involved also shows how difficult it can be to manage so many competing demands and expectations in our industry.
9. What is something your colleagues don’t know about you?
I make a mean pavlova!
10. What makes you laugh?
The ABC’s nation building comedy series “Utopia”. I swear I’ve worked in that office…
11. What is your favourite quote?
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are built for.” I’m not sure who said it originally – I’ve seen it attributed to a number of people.