Meet your 2017 Engineers Australia, Queensland President

Friday, 20 January 2017

Quick Chat with 2017 Engineers Australia, Queensland President

Chris Nielsen FIEAust CPEng NER is a civil engineer with over 25 years’ experience, working primarily as a consulting engineer, but also in software development, sales and research. Geographically, he has lived and worked in Australia, Asia and Europe. He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) from James Cook University in 1990 and a Master of Engineering Science from the University of Queensland in 2000.

What are your goals as President?

Achieving the broad strategies Engineers Australia, Queensland has been pursuing in the past few years to raise the profile of engineers, advocate for the profession, support the Groups and promote our member value proposition. Within these broader strategies, I want to target climate change, gender diversity, and engage with young engineers. And, to promote all of this, I want to improve our social media footprint and improve connectivity and communications with our Groups in Queensland.

What is your current job title and function?

Head of Department, Water Resources. Working for a great technical consultancy, DHI, delivering innovative water and environment solutions.        

Why did you pursue engineering as a career?

I love to get lost in the technical challenges I’m given and produce an optimal solution, and I get enormous satisfaction that those efforts make a difference to people and the environment. Inspiring and encouraging others while I’m doing this is the icing on the cake.

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

Internally, gender equity. How can we be so skewed?

Externally, solving climate change.

Engineers can save the world. Whom would you want on your project team with you?

Scotty, the Apollo 13 crew, and Iron Man.

If the whole world was listening, what would you say?

Think bipartisan, think long-term.

Favourite TV show?

The Checkout

What is the most recent book you read?

I read the series of Ms Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (my daughter had them).

What was the last movie you went to see?

Rogue One – generally movies for me are with my kids and they’re the blockbusters.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I’ve taken up rowing. I’m loving the challenge and the teamwork required and getting out on the Brisbane River.

Favourite quote?

Peter Ho AM FIEAust CPEng RPEQ had a good quote relating to volunteering, along the lines of – “You get back more than what you put in”. An appropriate quote for me at this time.

Favourite movie?

Blade Runner

Ideal holiday destination?

Something active – skiing, diving or trekking holidays have always been the most enjoyable for me.

If you could take a year off to study anything, what would it be?

I’m tempted to drop out and do a PhD one day, but need a good topic.

How do you achieve work/life balance?

1. Family first. I respect, and compromise to meet, the needs of my family.

2. I cycle to work – my exercise is done during my commute.

3. After that, I’m trying hard to give myself some time off during the week. I need to force this – it doesn’t just happen. Regular weekly coffee breaks with friends and joining a rowing group have made a big difference to me in this regard.


If you would like to contact Chris, please feel free to email him.

Image: Chris Nielsen FIEAust CPEng NER at the 2016 End of Year Celebration, where he was inducted as the 2017 President.