What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
My parents were makers — they were not in the technology domain, but they showed me how, if we want to, we can make most of what we need in life — from what we wear and what we eat to what we use and live in. And if anything was broken, my father would learn how to fix it and even enhance the features. I was free to run my own little experiments. I remember once I learned from school about fertilizers and thought I should feed our plants some good minerals — I looked into the kitchen cabinet and decided to make my own salty mineral solutions. Fortunately, I didn’t kill any plants, and, when my mother found out, rather than telling me off, she explained the right way to make our own fertilizers. She continued to talk about the research and development that goes into analyzing the nutritional needs of different plants and the testing of the soil contents. Eventually, I was fascinated by how these are all technology driven and decided to pursue my studies in the engineering field.
What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Educational, resilient, and empowering.
What is your personal mantra?
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Describe the highest point in your career so far and how you got there, including all the hurdles you had to jump (and the ones you tripped over and too).
A few years back, I decided to make one of the most important decisions in my career journey — to set up my own consultancy business. I was fortunate enough to gain a number of interesting work contracts through my network, including on asset strategy development for Yarra Trams and intelligent building modelling with iBuilding System. One of the most interesting projects was through Powertechnic; I had an opportunity to work with Amazon Web Services on reliability modelling using the single-line reliability diagram (SLRD). We also managed to run a few webinars on the novel reliability modelling approach of the electrical and mechanical network during the COVID lockdown period and received valuable feedback from the participants.
As a small business, I need to manage the financial risk of not having projects during some of the windows. I have always enjoyed teaching, and so I decided to take on sessional lecturing work with the universities. However, that also means that, at some points, I have both teaching commitments and project work to complete in a tight timeline. On top of that, during the COVID lockdown period, my son was unable to attend childcare and, as a result, there were many late nights. The deadline of some of the less prioritized work also had to be negotiated for a later delivery. There were many ups and downs, but it has been a very rewarding journey. I am grateful for the help, support, and understanding from my family, friends, and colleagues.
What is your most admirable quality?
I have asked my mother to help me with this question, and she said I am a very good eater. I decided to go to my mentor, Frank Bodi, and he said some very kind words: “You’ve been very good at engaging and humanizing technology across a wide audience — from seasoned professionals to young children. You do so by being comfortable with technologies you use and through a humble and inclusive approach that brings people with you.”