People who work in Structures

  • David Wood

    Graduate Structural Engineer, David Wood at work

    Aubrey Bullen

    Structural Engineer, Aubrey Bullen at work

    Zoe Brooks

    Structural Engineer, Zoe Brooks at work

    Craig Fowler

    Structural Engineer, Craig Fowler at work
  • Sam Lichtwark

    Structural Engineer, Sam Lichtwark at work

    James Russell

    Geotechnical Engineer, James Russell at work

    Neill Lewis

    Structural Engineer, Neill Lewis at work

    Nick Oehley

    Structural Engineer, Nick Oehley at work
  • Martin Hedlund

    Structural Engineer, Martin Hedlund at work

    Andrew Flack

    CAD Draughtsman, Andrew Flack at work

    Audsley Jones

    Structural Engineer, Audsley Jones at work

    Simon McLoughlin

    Design Engineer, Simon McLoughlin at work
  • Royce Finlayson

    Structural Engineer, Royce Finlayson at work

    Sylvie Myers

    Structural Engineer, Sylvie Myers at work

    Claire Washington

    Structural Engineer, Claire Washington at work

    Isabella Franks

    Structural Engineer, Isabella Franks at work
  • Darshika Premkumar

    Engineer, Darshika Premkumar at work

    Jeff Carter

    Company Director , Jeff Carter at work

    Pia Abercromby

    Structural Engineer, Pia Abercromby at work

    Blair Lindsay

    Structural Engineer, Blair Lindsay at work
  • Sarah Neill

    Structural Engineer, Sarah Neill at work

    Ben Sherriff

    Structural Asset Management Engineer, Ben Sherriff at work

    Sarah MacKenzie

    Architectural Graduate, Sarah MacKenzie at work

    Nick Strachan

    Architect Associate, Nick Strachan at work
  • Alannah Robinson

    Apprentice builder , Alannah Robinson at work

    Kerrin Manual

    Site Manager, Kerrin Manual at work

    Adam Kelly

     Apprentice Builder, Adam Kelly at work

    Ben Baty

    Civil Engineer, Ben Baty at work
  • Liam Edwards

    Structural Engineer, Liam Edwards at work

    Rohann Da Silva

    Structural Engineer, Rohann Da Silva at work

    Kate Grinlinton

    Structural Engineer, Kate Grinlinton at work

    Robyn Murray

    Structural Engineer, Robyn Murray at work
  • Philip McDonald

    Structural Engineer, Philip McDonald at work

    Alana Thorn

    Architectural Graduate, Alana Thorn at work

    William McVitty

    Structural Engineer, William McVitty at work

    Kelly Sutherland

    Structural Engineer, Kelly Sutherland at work
  • Robert Ferguson

    Structural Bridge Engineer, Robert Ferguson at work

    Sheridan Fathers (née Peckett)

    Project Engineer, Sheridan Fathers (née Peckett) at work

    Sam Howell

    Structural Engineer, Sam Howell at work

    Ben Drake

    Structural Engineer, Ben Drake at work

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Structural Engineer

Structural Engineer

Pia Abercromby, Beca

Earning: Starting salary $50,000
In a nutshell: Designing bridges and tunnels throughout New Zealand.
Why? “Engineering is so cool as you can see what you have designed actually being built.”

Pathway St Cuthbert’s College, Year 13: Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Classics, Painting
University of Auckland: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) majoring in Civil Engineering

At school Pia Abercromby always loved science subjects and had inspiring physics and chemistry teachers. “But I didn’t want to be a scientist stuck in a lab,” she says. “I thought about architecture but decided that engineering had so many more possibilities.”

She finds designing structures very satisfying, and enjoys the way she is always doing something new. “Every bridge is different, which makes my work really interesting,” she says. “The Newmarket Viaduct and the Victoria Park Tunnel have been both challenging and exciting projects. It’s heaps of fun!”

Pia says that to be a structural engineer you need to be keen to learn, and have an interest in science, especially physics, and also maths. “Not the hard stuff, but you do need to have an enquiring sort of a mind and be interested in things like just how does concrete stay in place in a bridge.”

In her job she does a lot of problem-solving, and researches strategies, designs and materials for road bridges to come up with the best – and most cost-effective – approach for her scenario. “I design bridges for wind loads, earthquakes and live loads,” she says. “I work through the geotechnical information and feed it into a computer model, then I take the output data and use it to design the actual bridge structure.”

At other times she’s onsite checking up on the progress of construction. “We design the bridge but contractors actually build it so we need to make sure it’s being done properly,” she says. “But the flipside is that site visits allow us to modify any aspects of our design that aren’t really practical and come up with changes that get the job done.”

She feels a kind of ownership of the structures she’s designed. “Recently one of the people I work for said to me that the 5 km of on-ramp bridges that I’d designed were ‘mine’ which is really cool,” she says. “I get a real buzz from people trusting me to do this job.”

Travel and meeting new people are two more things she loves about her job. “We do a lot of work in the Pacific,” she says. “And there are lots of opportunities to work in Beca’s offices overseas.”

Posted October 2011

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