Dr Peter Greenwood’s career was mostly in the electricity-supply sector in engineering, research, academia, engineering management, strategic planning, and consultancy. In the Hydro-Electric Commission of Tasmania he became Executive Manager Business and Corporate Planning and a member of the Executive Committee.
Leaving the Hydro in 1991, Peter formed a small specialist energy and business consultancy in Tasmania advising users on the developing electricity market and power contracts, and advice to government on business related matters. Consultancy work and retirement in 2012 gave him flexibility to represent Engineers Australia nationally and internationally, ending in 2017. Peter’s EA volunteering was underpinned by some excellent mentors and colleagues.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I joined Engineers Australia as an invited Fellow in 1991 and began volunteering at that time in the succession plan for the Tasmanian Division Presidency. Prior to that I had been a volunteer in the profession since my student days, in the IET, IEEE and the IEPNG. I was involved in cooperation with EA before becoming a member.
Why did you become a volunteer?
I was encouraged to contribute to the profession as a member of the Student committee. I’ve always accepted that professional institutions are member driven. EA members provide about half its human resource and all of the governance.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
Initially, helping make EA work at the local level. As I learned more I wanted to contribute to the technical committees, encouraging younger members and the direction of the organisation. I became interested in liaising with government and with international engineering organisations. Most of all — working with like-minded individuals.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Being President of EA in 2002 and 2003. But Past Presidents and similar experienced members have further opportunities. In my case chairing the Washington Accord for six years in a formative period, then as Executive Vice-President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations for six years and chair of Engineers Media.
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
The profession works with universities, industry and government relating to education and training and professional standards in the engineering sector. Technical knowledge is complex and changes rapidly with innovation and the environment. As my career developed so too did my ability to contribute in these areas.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
My employers have always seen value in my participating in the profession, which helps. Balancing family responsibilities is more difficult. Without my family’s support volunteering would have been very difficult.
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Learn about EA. Consider what you can contribute. Learn more about EA. Review your involvement periodically. Don’t neglect career or family. Your profession, and its future, is what you make of it. Engineers Australia is the one professional organisation you can be part of for the whole of your life.
Image: courtesy of Dr Peter Greenwood