SA Power Networks is South Australia’s electricity distributor. And what a dynamic organisation it is too.
Steve Mackay, the Dean of the Engineering Institute of Technology, and a colleague were shown through the building at 1 Anzac Highway in Adelaide, on the morning of the 28th of August by Barney Nyirenda, the designated guide. He certainly knew his stuff and was clearly proud to be a part of this great company.
That afternoon Steve was invited back for a graduation; a number of SA Power employees had completed their advanced diplomas. Some were graduating from a TAFE qualification and some from EIT’s Advanced Diploma of Applied Electrical Engineering.
Steve was honoured to address the audience of students and support staff. He congratulated them earnestly – expressing his deep pride in their achievements. As an experienced engineer himself he also outlined a number of ways the graduates could boost their careers.
He urged them to remain positive; to be the problem solvers, not just the fault finders. But he did recommend that they do the necessary research before making decisions, and to always consider the worst-case scenarios.
He pointed out the importance of communication skills – suggesting that these softer skills were critical to the success of engineering professionals.
He spoke of the importance of fitting into an organisational culture – particularly one as positive as SA Power Networks. And urged the graduates to be innovative; building value into everything they do.
Business and entrepreneurial skills, he suggested, needed honing even when working for an employer. And linked with this, Steve advised them to keep their technical expertise sharp – with an eye on what the marketplace needed.
He counselled them to be friendly, positive and respectful, to all fellow workers - throughout the organisation. He explained that they would receive support of others in return.
He concluded by urging them to make learning – in all its guises – a life-long ambition and in everything, to follow their hearts (yes, an engineer said this).
For his final comment Steve drew on one of his heroes’ directives to never, never give in and never give up – a theme Sir Winston Churchill repeated throughout his life.