Blog - Steve Mackay

Recently I received this note from one of my colleagues. I have deleted company names for this purpose.

 “Last week the XYZ company made me a fantastic offer that will provide me with the opportunity to gain tremendous experience and receive a dramatic increase in my salary. I pretty much signed on the spot and joined up. Today my current company made me a counter offer of a 38% increase. However, I have decided to move on - I gave the XYZ company my word.”

Having since discussed this...

Before I launch into another one of my musings (rants ?) - My very best wishes to you all for a great 2007 both in excellent engineering and naturally in your personal life. I had a magnificent break trawling through the rapidly dwindling African wilderness with my family, albeit on the one occasion being chased by a large amorous ostrich.

One of my readers (perhaps, more cautious than me), sent me an irritable note blaming for encouraging a culture of neglecting safety when the Montreal...

I know I am one of the major culprits here. I have an insatiable desire to keep up with everything happening in our engineering business. I am tethered to my mobile phone and email/web to ensure I keep in touch and track disasters and relatively good news alike. These can range from a training kit destined for Baku in Azerbaijan being lost in New York, to a course receiving outstanding reviews. My wife tends to turn a benign eye to these deviant work related activities of mine until I am...

Admittedly, Steve Wozniak (‘Woz’ to his buddies) of Apple fame is somewhat of an eclectic engineer and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. Many engineering professionals would be decidedly twitchy to class Woz as “one of us”. My musings today are on why Woz should be considered inspirational to us – whether you be an engineer, technician or a member of Joe Public.

Most of you would have heard about Steve Wozniak  of Apple fame, but here is a quick recap (thanks to Wikipedia.com). He...

We employ an eclectic mixture of experienced engineers, graduate engineers and engineering students both on permanent staff and on contract at IDC Technologies. We run  many courses every day throughout the world; so I am privileged to have the opportunity to talk to the experienced old salts and the young enthusiastic engineering graduates itching to conquer the world. 

But what infuriates me is the redundant content these young engineering students are being taught at college or...

I was intrigued by our logistics manager, Rosemary's pride and joy - Cedric - a 54 year old FJ Holden designed, crafted and built  in Melbourne.  Beautiful engineering of a car built to last; unlike some of the rubbish loitering around on the road today.

Once a team of accountants runs their ruler over your business, you can bet your bottom dollar that first they will be looking at the assets in terms of plant & equipment and stock in the warehouse. Second, they will then look at the intangibles such as software, trademarks and goodwill. There will be scant consideration paid to people – those ‘strange entities’ not on the balance sheet. Or if they are on the balance sheet, it will be in terms of liabilities such as pensions, health...

I watch my 12yo daughter with some bemusement when she expertly uses Google to search for information for her school projects. She is reluctant to use my favourite source of information – books from the local library. There is a massive paradigm shift that is occurring at present where people are using search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to secure the knowledge, information and data they require by simply typing a request into a search engine. This is called fingertip...

Well; the great move to our new home up the road was (sort of) completed yesterday. To 1031 Wellington Street. Things had got untenable at our older offices with everyone sitting on top of each other or sharing desks and computers over the day. Hopelessly painful.

Thanks to young Miss Sumi MacNaughton for engineering the move with such panache. Lots of stress and sore backs but everyone jumped in with great enthusiasm.

It is a well recognized truism that science, engineering and technology are critical to economic growth for a country. So it is vital that we see a continuing flow of good engineers and technicians into industry. In 2001, the British Government commissioned an important study into "the supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematical skills". The report's findings highlighted a significant fall in the number of students taking physics, mathematics, chemistry and...

Last night, we enjoyed a great evening with our two kids playing in a school musical evening. The one in a choir (much to his chagrin) and the other playing the violin. What struck me about these very young adults is their  incredible ability to absorb knowledge and skills. Also their open ness to new concepts. As we have all heard before - like sponges. Over the past week, I have delighted in teaching my boy (9yo) the essentials of differential calculus. I believe when presenting in an...

After running an engineering conference with 80 odd engineers, in the beautiful surrounds of Sydney harbour and its yachts, I reflected on why some of the presentations were outstanding and others dull.  The presenters were of a similar caliber with identical resources. The presentations which lacked luster used a plethora of powerpoints and words, often delivered in a monotone and all compressed into an hour – slides were thrust out to the bemused audience in machine gun succession. And...

Stop pouring your money into formal training without pausing to consider the other far more powerful options. The US Bureau of  Labor Statistics (1996), indicated that people learn 70% of what they know about their jobs informally. Not through formal courses. Or training workshops.

According to Jay Cross,  formal training accounts for only 20% of what people learn at work. Was it wisely spent ? In many cases, I doubt it. Our experience leads us to believe that a two day short course is...

As engineers and technical professionals we are all trained to be logical and rational and rely on proven facts in making decisions. The approach with engineers is to vigorously apply the blowtorch to any concept which is rather nebulous  and stick to solid engineering design practise. However as Margot Cairnes, an Australian leadership strategist recently  pointed out: ‘This often means being conventional, boring and underperforming (when creating solutions to difficult problems). In a...

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) is dedicated to ensuring our students receive a world-class education and gain skills they can immediately implement in the workplace upon graduation. Our staff members uphold our ethos of honesty and integrity, and we stand by our word because it is our bond. Our students are also expected to carry this attitude throughout their time at our institute, and into their careers.