Director (Gluco Consultants)
I am a qualified civil and construction engineer working in infrastructure advisory for major transport projects. I own my own engineering consulting company and am currently consulting full time to Transport and Main Roads QLD as the Project Director of the Direct Sunshine Coast Rail line project. I also oversee all major rail planning for the South East Queensland City Train network north of the city (including the Sunshine Coast and Redcliffe lines). In this role I lead a team of planners, engineers, estimators, economists and modellers to develop strategic plans, investment planning and project feasibility studies to inform the short and longer term program for rail in Queensland. As an engineering consultant, I provide advice to clients with regards to project planning and delivery - helping clients to develop solutions to complex problems from project inception, right through to project close out.
I have spent my career working on pivotal transport projects within South East Queensland such as the Legacy Way tunnel, the Kingsford Smith Drive Upgrade, the Inner City Bypass Upgrade and now, the SEQ rail network. I love working in transport because of the far-reaching benefits that projects provide; we enable efficient and safe movement of people between their homes and key activity centres, we enable freight movements to support industry and we connect regions and communities. Working in public transport since 2018, I have noticed that these benefits are even further pronounced. Public transport provides accessible, affordable and sustainable transport options for people that may otherwise not be able to travel. It enables access to healthcare, education and employment, and as our region grows, will become a backbone of the transport network (in step with other growing cities). Public transport is largely about providing social benefit to a community. Those that are unable to access private vehicle travel are able to access the transport network, and as a result, participate in society. The projects that I am currently working on are primarily about connecting key growth areas across our expanding South East Queensland region with sustainable transport choice. This ultimately enables people to travel with less reliance on private vehicles, which in-turn has environmental benefits, defers road congestion and larger safety benefits to the overall network. Planning for the needs of Queensland as it grows and evolves is something that I am very proud to be a part of, and even more so that I am able to be a part of drafting a more sustainable and inclusive narrative for the region. Transport planning is often over a 30+ year horizon, and is all about ensuring that we build a better network for future generations of Queenslanders in a staged and logical way.
I believe that I am a good role model for other women in STEM (or aspiring to be in STEM) as I have proven that you can build a diverse and rewarding career in an industry that is often seen as challenging for women. I have been able to craft a company around the work and projects that I love and enjoy, building flexibility for myself (in the operation of my own business) and promoting this option for others. Coming into engineering, I didn't know any engineers - and every day I aspire to be the engineer that I wish I could have known or have seen when I was in high school. I promote work-life balance and the exciting and 'world-shaping' projects that you are able to be involved in as an engineer. I truly believe that a career in STEM is one of the most versatile paths that you can be on in life and I love that every other person that I know in STEM has a different yet incredibly interesting career path to mine. We are all unique - and I aim to celebrate and share as many of these stories as I can, not only mine. Whilst there are challenging days, I consciously try to share the positives about engineering with others. We all know that the statistics aren't wonderful, but we have spoken about these for years. I believe it is time to try a different approach - I believe in sharing the great things about STEM; how rewarding, intellectually stimulating, exciting, versatile a career can be in this space.
Leaning into "being the engineer I wish I knew" started when I was in university. I have been actively involved in promoting STEM since 2011 where I became a student ambassador for engineering at QUT. I was engaged to travel to schools (primary and secondary) across Queensland to share my story, my experiences of university and work experience/internships and answer questions from students about engineering and other STEM degrees. I loved this role and was lucky enough to present to thousands of students over the 4 years that I worked in this role, and travel to towns such as Mt Isa, Mackay and Bundaberg to share my experiences. Whilst at university I was also the Industry Engagement Lead for both the Civil Engineering Society and the Girls in Engineering clubs. Upon leaving university I have continued my outreach; presenting to my local high school each year (Physics classes and International Women's Day lunches) and continued to attend university events as an alumnus or industry representative. I am an active member of the Civil Engineering Course Advisory Board for QUT, where I share my lived professional experience (and perspective of being a woman in the industry) to inform coursework development for undergraduate and post graduate courses. I regularly present for Engineers Australia (two webinars last year and two panel sessions) on transport or major projects. In 2021, I started organising regular dinners in Brisbane for women in engineering - an opportunity to catch up, share and build friendships. This started as a group of 6 and is now an average of 16-30 per event. I have created a STEM group called CUVN (coven) which launched this year to formalise these events and plan to use this platform to promote companies that are excelling to support the development of a diverse engineering industry, with job boards, stories from members and professional development opportunities for women in STEM (through university and industry partnerships). In 2021 I was an industry mentor for the DreamBig course, which provides a group of women studying engineering an opportunity to participate in courses run by industry representatives - I created a course around Professional Confidence for the students. I also mentor two engineering undergraduate students. On top of these events and activities I continue to support QUT, participating in their open days where I talk to parents and prospective students about my life. I really believe that we need to build a stronger pipeline of women that see STEM as a viable career path, and I want to help to play my part in that.