Louise believes that being an engineer is not just a job, it’s a way of life that requires the right attitude. She was recently featured in Engineer Australia’s 100 Engineers and is currently focused on achieving her chartership.
She says, “Being an engineer is about engaging communities, fostering collaboration and harnessing diversity of thought.”
“Without the buzzwords, it’s picking up that fallen star picket on site, talking to that resident to discuss upcoming work, going to that technical talk, and listening to and learning from your team. It’s so much more than just a degree, numbers, drawings or spreadsheets.”
With a keen passion for the water industry and the strong sense of social purpose in contributing to providing essential services, Louise is inspired to challenge the status quo for the betterment of future generations.
She adds, “Everyone needs clean water and sterile sewerage disposal, but not everyone has access to it so there is more to do. People who work in the water sector take pride in improving society, it’s not always recognised but it’s important. Her current work involves the design, installation and commissioning of various infrastructure such as water mains, sewer rising mains, gravity sewer mains, and sewer pump stations.
“I will never forget the challenges of my first sewer pump station refurbishment. The most exciting part of a sewer pump station is the wet well (a chamber full of sewage). The wet well was 6m in diameter and 10m deep, containing three pumps submerged in sewage and the internal contents of the wet well required removal.
“I became well acquainted with confined space, working at heights, suspended loads, network interventions and the fragrance of hydrogen sulphide (rotten egg smell). It’s not glamourous work but sewage pump stations are integral to servicing the needs of our community.”
Finding Her Voice
Having worked across many rural and regional construction sites, Louise was often one of very few female engineers and felt that she couldn’t show emotion or had to act in a certain way to be heard or follow the way of thinking. It was challenging and confronting, but she had great mentors who helped her find her voice. She would like to express her sincere gratitude to those managers and colleagues, often male, who treated her as an equal and gave her opportunities to grow as both an engineer and a person.
Inspired by her father who is a construction engineer specialising in temporary structures and her mother who held two jobs, they’ve helped instil an incredibly strong work ethic in her. At WSP she feels there is an inclusive culture supporting equal opportunity, acceptance and growth which is allowing her career to thrive.
“Our water team is a great example of this with different genders, age, cultures and experience,” says Louise. “It’s very holistic, everyone brings a different piece of the puzzle and this brings diversity of thought. We make better decisions collectively for our clients, partners and communities. I really enjoy learning from others and I’m inspired to want to do better and contribute more.” Louise explains.
Outside of work, Louise is studying to become a yoga teacher, enjoys indoor rock climbing having faced her fear of heights and renovating properties with her fiancé.
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