Quick Chat with the Young Professional Engineer of the Year

Stephen Bornstein was recently recognised by Engineers Australia as the 2017 Young Engineer of the Year for Queensland.
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Quick Chat with the Young Professional Engineer of the Year

Stephen Bornstein MIEAust CPEng NER has been working as an engineer since 2011 in Australia and New Zealand, attaining Chartered status in 2015.

Stephen completed a bachelor of Aerospace Engineering at Monash University. He has worked on a variety of Aerospace design projects through his employment including the Nulka Active Missile decoy, the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, the electron launch vehicle and the MRH90 helicopter. Outside of work he has developed the royal flying doctors service cockpit simulator, a prototype surveillance drone for the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, developed STEM robotics programs in 2 states and over 7 schools, and provided technical advisory to the student run Melbourne Space Program Acrux -1 cube satellite.

Stephen was recently recognised by Engineers Australia as the 2017 Young Professional Engineer of the Year for Queensland.

Hi Stephen! What is your current job title and function?

I am the Capability Projects Engineer at Airbus Group and Founder of Cyborg Dynamics Engineering.

Why did you pursue a career in engineering?

I have been passionate about engineering since I was playing with Lego as a 3-year-old. I was using Lego techic and Meccano by 6 and coding my graphics calculator to solve all of my maths tests by early high school as well as using Lego Mindstorms for robotics competitions. I got a workshop and tools when I was 13 to build things. I guess I have just always been drawn to the creativity of design and problem solving.

What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?

The electron launch vehicle was the most challenging as it was a relatively inexperienced team building a clean sheet space rocket with a lot of new technologies and we learned a lot of lessons the hard way through design and testing.

The most interesting was the pro-bono engineering design I did developing the cockpit simulator for the royal flying doctors service. It involved developing an affordable and interactive cockpit simulator to enhance community engagement.

What does winning the 2017 Young Professional Engineer of the Year Award mean to you?

It feels amazing to be recognised independently for a lot of hard work in STEM outreach endeavours and not-for-profit engineering projects as well as my day to day engineering.

Why are you an Engineers Australia member?

I am a member with Engineers Australia to maintain my chartered engineering status as well as gain exposure to a number of excellent resources and networking opportunities.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you like to have with you?

I would take a waterproof sleeping bag in case it is cold, a tool box with hand tools to build designs and a kettle to boil water so I can survive.

What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?

One of the biggest issues in Australia is our extremely poor ability to commercialise intellectual property. Australia has the worst commercialisation ratio of patents granted of any OECD nation and this has been found to be due to high university salaries for researchers developing the IP, poor university – industry collaboration as well as limited access to venture capital for start-up spin off. We need to improve our ability to commercialise our organically developed intellectual property to create engineering jobs in development, production and sustainment as well as all of the blue collar jobs of manufacturing these products.  

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpower to be?

I’m an aerospace engineer and drawn to the sky, so it would have to be the ability to fly.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I am a massive adrenaline junkie so I love rock climbing, cliff jumping, skiing and mountain biking. I’m also an Army Reservist, so that is a good break from engineering.

Who is your hero?

My hero would have to be Elon Musk. He has created 3-billion-dollar tech companies as well as inspiring the Hyperloop and working on new transportation infrastructure solutions with the digging company.

What makes you laugh?

Hearing awkward stories involving my friends.