Julie Mikhail

FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Founder and Managing Director

Engineering Business Pty Ltd

Julie Mikhail is the Founder and Managing Director of Engineering Business Pty Ltd, and an engineer with more than 17 years’ experience in the public sector working on Defence projects.

Julie started her own company in 2016, to work with Small to Medium Enterprises developing capability and assisting them in their bidding process to bid and win on government tenders.

Julie is an active Engineers Australia  member and the Immediate Past President of Engineers Australia Sydney. Julie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, Master’s Degree in Engineering Science (Electrical Engineering), a Certificate IV in Government Procurement and is a Fellow and Chartered Engineer of Engineers Australia.

How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
I became a student member in about 1994 or 1995, so around 25 years.

Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
I was always good at science and maths, so engineering was a good fit – and I also specifically sought a career that involved working in teams.

How can Australian communities/people/society benefit from your work now and in the future?
The majority of my career, 17 years, has been spent working for the Department of Defence. So I guess in some small part I’ve contributed to Australia’s Defence’s capabilities. Now, in my company, I get to help business grow by linking them up with opportunities and helping them succeed.

What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
I had to manage the upgrade of the electrical switchboard system on one of the Navy’s ships. It was a high profile project with a tight timeframe. It went from concept to set to work and had all the challenges a project could face. It was very rewarding and a great learning experience.

What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
I think the ethical dilemmas will be the biggest challenge. The lines are becoming blurred when it comes to human ethics. Acceptable moral standards vary widely, so I think the engineering community will face some tough questions in the future when it comes to ethics and social responsibility, particularly as artificial intelligence expands and automation in many aspects of life becomes the norm.

What excites you about the future of the profession or what opportunities do you see for the future?
It’s exciting to see the profile of engineers increasing. It’s great to see engineers being involved more in public debate on a wide variety of issues and also to see the general public starting to understand the role engineers play in society. Engineering will always be a profession of opportunity; the opportunities are endless and the future will only increase these opportunities as technology begins to infiltrate every aspect of our lives.

Julie Mikhail

Who is your engineering hero?
If I was to go back into ancient history and my heritage, the engineering pharaohs that designed and built Egyptian cities and structures that still stand today are definitely engineers I’ve grown up admiring.

However, as a Sydney sider born and bred, it’s hard to go past John Bradfield and his amazing foresight with such engineering accomplishments as the Harbour Bridge and Sydney underground train system.

Image Source: Bree Hulme