With nominations for the Engineer of the Year Awards closing on 31 May, Engineers Australia recently caught up with Tasmania’s 2018 Professional Engineer of the Year and Young Professional Engineer of the Year.
Building on Engineers Australia's proud history, the Engineer of the Year Awards (formerly called Individual Awards) confer recognition for outstanding individual engineering achievements and promote those engineering professionals who show innovation and resourcefulness in their work.
In November 2018, Tasmania’s Engineer of the Year Awards were presented at the Pursuit of Engineering Excellence function, with Donald Vaughan BE (Hons) FIEAust CPEng RPEQ RPEng(Elec), Principal Consultant: Electrical Primary Systems at Entura named Tasmania’s Professional Engineer of the Year and Lyndon Johnson MIEAust, Senior Civil Engineer at Hydro Tasmania announced as Young Professional Engineer of the Year.
Donald Vaughan, who has a wealth of experience in renewables-based energy, described receiving the award as a proud and humbling moment, and one that allowed him to reflect on his passion for the engineering profession.
“The recognition of my company through the nomination, and then the profession through the actual award, was satisfying in a way that is difficult to describe”, said Donald.
“I love being an engineer and am so happy I have chosen this profession to channel my working life into. The award somehow enhances my love for the profession and allows a moment of reflection on the work that I’ve done, its broader effects on the profession and the community and the work still to do.”
Recently speaking at Engineers Australia member events held across Tasmania to mark national volunteers week in May, Donald has also enjoyed the opportunity to expand his networks since receiving the award.
“The award has raised my profile within the Tasmanian engineering community. This has provided for a few opportunities to interact with other engineers across the state which has been enjoyable, for me at least.”
For Young Professional Engineer of the Year Lyndon Johnson, a Professional Dams Engineer, the award reflected both the opportunities he has been granted and the people he has worked with across Hydro Tasmania over the past ten years.
“It was a huge privilege and honour to be awarded Young Professional of the Year”, said Lyndon.
“I am truly grateful for the time and effort that has been put into my development by my peers, and more importantly, for the support and time I have had for developing solutions which are ‘outside of the box’.
“The award has provided great networking opportunities for me to spend time with young engineers and give back some of what I have learned. It has really driven home the importance of applying your own skills, and your own experiences to problems and the value in always looking for ways to do things differently, then sharing new information with others.”
When it came to advice for engineers entering the workforce, both Donald and Lyndon were quick to acknowledge the impact engineers make to their communities.
“I like to give all new engineers the same advice and that is to seek out opportunities to do interesting work”, said Donald.
“There’s a few sub-rules to this, but most of them really boil down to the same thing; our working lives are short, and there’s so few engineers that the value we add shouldn’t be stifled by our efforts being mis-directed.”
Lyndon also highlighted the effects of the current rate of technological change on skills.
“New engineers have very different and unique skills, which can provide huge benefits if applied in industry”, he said.
“It has taken me many years, but I have learned to question methods – and even if something seems obvious, suggest changes to the way we do things. You won’t always strike gold, but work hard and keep trying. Your skills and fresh thinking could provide substantial benefits to your organisation and your industry.
“Most importantly, find a good senior mentor in the industry and ask questions – there is no such thing as a stupid question, and a good mentor can really help shape your career and your future.”
The 2019 Tasmanian Engineer of the Year Awards will be announced in August.
Image: 2018 Tasmanian Professional Engineer of the Year Donald Vaughan and Eddie Jager TFIEAust CEngT EngExec NER, Chair of Southern Tasmania Regional Group, speaking at the inaugural Southern Regional Group breakfast on 3 July 2019 about global careers in engineering