Manager, Delivery Safety
Major Transport Infrastructure Authority
Astrid Kauffman is a public sector professional engineer, mentor and risk manager who is excited by the potential to solve complex public policy challenges using systems thinking. Astrid is Manager, Delivery Safety at the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA), is a member of Engineers Australia Victoria Division Committee and RMIT’s Manufacturing, Materials, Mechatronics, Mechanical and Automotive Industry Advisory Committee.
Previously, Astrid led the Intelligence, Analysis and Risk team at Maritime Safety Victoria and was also a systems engineering manager and project engineer with the former Defence Materiel Organisation working on armored vehicles and clothing.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Off and on since 2010. I started with the Victorian CELM Committee (as it was then known), then with Mechanical Branch. Then I went off to do my MBA, had a child, and then returned when I was elected to Victoria Division Committee, a fabulous opportunity.
Why did you become a volunteer?
At first, because I had moved from an engineering focused organization to a regulator, I wanted to stay connected with my profession when I was working in a more multidisciplinary environment. I have continued with volunteering as a way of being a part of something bigger and hopefully giving something back to the broader community.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I love the challenge of identifying ways to influence the public agenda on critical issues and support our volunteers to bring their knowledge and skills to bear. Plus, working with people I would otherwise never meet has expanded my world view and generated some fantastic friendships.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
As chair of Victoria’s Professional Development Advisory Committee, we trialled a new strategic and coordinated approach to CPD planning. We have identified 6 themes as the foundation of our 2020 CPD program. I’m looking forward to seeing the program drive the conversation forward on issues key to our members and the community.
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
My experience and studies in strategic decision making and systems thinking has pushed me to think about how we can work together on some of the biggest issues of our time. Plus, having worked across public sector functions has helped VDC think about working with government.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
Having a very supportive family makes ongoing volunteering in an office bearer capacity possible for me. Also, my son is very interested in engineering and we read the Create magazine together…especially the robotics and biomedical issues!
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Have a look around to find a volunteering opportunity that is close to your heart, within your ability to sustain and challenges your thinking, and then, get amongst it!
Image: courtesy of Astrid Kauffman