Colin Van Eck

FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Associate – Electrical Engineer

Irwinconsult Pty Ltd

Colin Van Eck commenced his engineering career in Melbourne in 1984, working for a consulting engineering firm specialising in water and sewage treatment plants. Amongst other things, this job gave him a good grounding on control systems. In 1986 Colin joined Irwin Johnston and Partners (Now Irwinconsult) in their Melbourne office. In 1996 he moved full time to their Darwin office where he still resides.

Over the years Colin’s work has expanded to incorporate the design of lighting (general, emergency, roadway, sportsfield), fire detection, security, communications, lightning protection, generators, high voltage design and transmission cabling to PWC standards. In a small area like Darwin it is necessary to cover most areas of the engineering field to some extent. Projects from the Darwin office have been in Queensland, Western Australia, Malaysia and Timor.

How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I have been a volunteer for several years, serving on the boards for Engineers Australia Northern Division, ITEE committee, LSAC and providing advice to engineering students at CDU.

Why did you become a volunteer?
To provide assistance to the industry and to young engineers.

What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
Sharing with young potential engineers what life is like as an engineer as well as the happy experiences and challenges I have had throughout my career.

What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I don’t think I have a greatest achievement, but I think providing input as part of the board or LSAC is quite rewarding.

How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
Being a volunteer helps you to interact with peers in the profession. Information that comes out of discussions with fellow engineers at times provides additional technical information that you otherwise would not have picked up. This is beneficial, particularly when being in a remote location like Darwin.

How do you balance work and volunteering?
With great difficulty and sometimes the volunteering has to take a side step when work commitments must take priority.

What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Do it. You would be surprised as to how much benefit an extra opinion can have to our profession. We all have different experiences, no matter how long you have been in the game.

Image: courtesy of Colin Van Eck