Research Fellow and Group Manager
Dr Peter Sokolowski is a Chartered Fellow of Engineers Australia and Chair of its Electrical College.
Peter is committed to raising the profile of the electrical engineering profession. He continues to mentor many young engineers, instilling a culture of inclusiveness and effortless high performance while achieving best balance solutions for both industry and the community.
He currently manages a research group in industrial informatics and control at RMIT. He has worked across a diverse portfolio of projects, including prediction of premature human births to recently establishing a project on Dynamic Deep Learning for Electricity Demand Forecasting.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I’ve been a volunteer for 5 years, both locally and nationally, in member and leadership roles. My volunteering began with one of Engineers Australia’s technical societies, and I am now the Chair of the Electrical College and also Deputy President Victoria.
Why did you become a volunteer?
For a number of reasons. Firstly, I could work with and discover like-minded people who hold similar values and, secondly, to make a difference in how engineering contributes to the well-being of the community through Engineers Australia’s learned society functions, particularly ensuring that standards set up Australia for a safe and secure future.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
Enabling members. It’s satisfying to see their empowerment. This helps the profession to truly demonstrate its core purpose, making things better for society through creativity and innovation.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Assembling a small team of volunteers to articulate with evidence to market bodies, power system engineers’ concern regarding the eastern seaboard’s power system stability. Will we lose power in your state this summer using current practices and thinking?
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
My various roles in electrical engineering and safety consulting, mathematics, biomedical engineering, operating a restaurant, and research have shown the value and normalcy of diversity in teams. Leading by striking a balance within our volunteer teams has demonstrated the powerful future engineers have in the world’s decision-making roles.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
I was conditioned while a cadet at BHP’s Newcastle Steelworks to balance work, study and life, while also playing in a band. Busy, busy, busy! Knowing where to focus your energy and when is key.
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Ironically, after completing postgraduate study, I discovered a void which required filling. Volunteering for Engineers Australia not only filled this void but satisfied my yearning of helping society through my education, work and life experiences. Decide where you can make a difference and build solid relationships to discover where you can make a significant contribution.
Image: courtesy of Peter Sokolowski