Sydney Harbour Bridge at Transport for NSW
Julia Ratnayake is a chartered professional mechanical engineer with extensive experience in Service Delivery, Business Improvement and Bridge Infrastructure program/project management in Australia, Oceania and Europe. She is also a contributor to the development and enhancement of new and existing products for the Industrial Automation engineering field.
Julia works as a Project Manager for Transport of NSW. She is senior leader at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, involved with the development and delivery of complex projects. She has been an active volunteer for Engineers Australia since 2013, with particular interest in education, mentoring and recognition of excellence in engineering. She is currently a Deputy President for the Sydney Division.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I have been a volunteer since 2013, when I had the privilege to be elected as Office Bearer for the Sydney Division Committee. Currently I am the Deputy President for the Sydney Division.
Why did you become a volunteer?
It is very simple: I wanted to give back to the profession I love and I saw Engineers Australia as the correct platform for that. My goal is to serve our professional community and, together with so many others, to create an environment with better outcomes for all.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I truly enjoy being part of the EA Community. It feels rewarding to connect with so many accomplished and senior engineers and to share our collective knowledge and experience. It is equally rewarding to be involved in the strategic planning and future direction of the engineering profession.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
As the Chair of Australian Engineering Week in 2015, I participated heavily in organising the events, with Sydney becoming home to some of the largest events across the week. I also take great pride in judging nominations for the Engineering Excellence Awards, having been involved in the judging process since 2013.
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
Volunteering has always been part of my professional career. Helping others brings me happiness and personal satisfaction, especially helping young engineers, women professionals and ‘newcomers’. I am very fortunate to have worked with excellent professionals, which over the years have given me the ultimate professional relationship, outstanding support, exemplary leadership and the right aspirations to follow.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
I must admit, balancing work and volunteering is a challenge. I work in an operational environment, so it is hard to establish flexible working arrangements. I am one hundred percent committed to my work but also equally dedicated to my volunteering. I’m fortunate to have my manager’s support, whenever possible. You just have to learn to be more efficient.
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Absolutely go for it! It’s a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and appreciation. The engineering community is so diverse! You will meet and be able to work with like-minded teams; contributing with your skills, professional thoughts, and ideas. And perhaps one day you too will become a role-model to the next generation of young engineers.
Image: courtesy of Julia Ratnayake