Senior Geotechnical Engineer
Klohn Crippen Berger
Craig Brock is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer at Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB), based in Brisbane. Craig has a bachelor’s degree in Science (Tech) majoring in Earth Science from the University of Waikato in New Zealand and a Master of Engineering Science (Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology) from the University of New South Wales. Craig has worked with geotechnical consultancies in New Zealand, England, and Queensland, and his career has taken him far and wide to places such as Northern Ireland, Kazakhstan, Papa New Guinea, and Malaysia.
How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
I have been a member of Engineers Australia for two years and a member of the Australian Geomechanics Society for eight.
Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
I wanted to pursue a career that got me outdoors as I always loved getting my hands dirty and working outside. I didn’t know what career I wanted to pursue, however, I wanted to go to university – so I did a bachelor’s in Earth Science, which had a work experience component. The university assisted with finding me work experience at a small geotechnical consultancy in New Zealand, and the rest is history.
From there, I started my career as an Engineering Geologist, although quite often I found myself doing similar work to the engineers. As a Geologist it is pretty common practice to make fun of the engineers, however, I joined the ‘dark side’ eventually as I now work as an engineer.
How can Australian communities/people/society benefit from your work now and in the future?
The organisation I work for, KCB, is primarily involved with the engineering of tailings storage facilities and other mine site infrastructure. Given the heightened awareness of these structures with failures in other parts of the world, our role is vital to ensure the safety of mine waste structures and the communities that surround them.
What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
I would split this answer into three categories: physically challenging, mentally challenging, and just straight challenging:
Physically challenging: logging a drilling rig in Papua New Guinea in 30- to 40-degree Celsius heat, 12-hour days, and a full-body sweat for six straight weeks. The staple for dinner that whole time was plain white rice.
Mentally challenging: my first major project after I just arrived in the UK – a desk study for a proposed tram line through the centre of London. I had no knowledge of London and I had never done a desk study, among other challenges.
Straight challenging: reflected by a current project in an overseas location with a number of trying external factors whilst trying to design a flood bund on very soft clay and peat.
What do you see as some of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
Global warming. Moving to renewable resources and a more sustainable future while maintaining a percentage of fossil fuel use and continuing to take minerals out of the ground will be a big issue in the coming years.
Keeping mine waste facilities safe in perpetuity is also up there, too.
And finally, how to provide professional registration for geologists and engineering geologists who are in the geotechnical industry is also on my list.
What excites you about the future of the profession or what opportunities do you see for the future?
The world will always need geologists and engineers. If we are to continue to live on this planet, it will be engineers who will solve the water, resources, and food problems of the future.
Who is your engineering hero?
No heroes per se, but I have had some very good managers throughout my 13-year career. So carrying on from question about some of the issues our profession faces, another challenge we must address is how to produce good senior and principal engineers who are technical boffins but also good people and project managers – i.e. how do we create more engineering heroes?
Image: courtesy of Craig Brock