Karlie Collis

FIEAust CPEng NER

Principal, Structural Engineer

Northrop

Karlie is a Chartered Structural Engineer, Principal and Director with Northrop Engineers. She has been with the organisation for 15 years, joining as a graduate. Karlie has held many roles during her tenure, with her most recent appointment to join the Northrop Board.

How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
I joined Engineers Australia as a graduate engineer, 15 years ago.

Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
My father wouldn’t let me be a plumber like him. I also loved the laws of nature and how logical they appeared.

How can Australian communities/people/society benefit from your work now and in the future?
I love working on heritage projects as I get a real sense of responsibility as a caretaker of these legacy structures.

What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
I loved working on a 3 storey demountable school in Sydney. It’s the closest thing to Lego I’ve found – and I love Lego! My 5-year-old son also thinks it’s pretty cool to watch video’s of the installation of “giant lego”.

What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
Diversity is a constant battle that we are still facing. Whilst there has been a lot of work done by a few for a long period of time, I feel we are only just starting to understand the deficiencies in our industry that prevent us from achieving a diverse workforce.

What excites you about the future of the profession or what opportunities do you see for the future?
I love the research into new materials and new methods. Always checking to see what Veena is working on now….

The changes in our industry to help us push towards diversity are exciting. Have a look at what Roberts Pizzaroti have been doing with pushing a 5 day working week. There’s still plenty to go, but it’s a fantastic move.

Who is your engineering hero?
I have been so lucky to come across so many amazing engineers through my voluntary work with EA over the years. I’m currently the Chair of the Structural College Board and a member of the Newcastle Division Committee. I still always take my hat off to my local mentor, Neil Petherbridge, who’s attitude of “why not?” has always given me the courage to challenge the norm and grab opportunities.