Kelly Lance

FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Senior Systems Engineer

Department of Defence

Kelly Lance is a civilian graduate of Navy Systems Command with Department of Defence, and has worked overseas within the Telecommunications Industry for Orange. Kelly has a Bachelor in Engineering from UWA, an MBA from Southern Cross University, a Diploma in Business and a Masters of Science from the French engineering school ISEP.

Her current role is Senior Systems Engineer at Nova Systems working for Department of Defence in Canberra. In this role, Kelly is responsible for scoping, planning, testing and integrating communications equipment in both minor and major projects in the Defence. She is also actively researching autonomous underwater vehicles.

Kelly is a Chartered Fellow of Engineers Australia and currently chairs the organisation’s Information Technology Electronic Engineering (ITEE) college chapter in Canberra. In 2014 Kelly was also recognised as Canberra Young Professional Engineer of the Year.

How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
I started as Graduate Member when I joined the Navy Systems Command Engineering Program in 2003. Since then I have been actively involved as a volunteer on many committees from Canberra Division including; Women in Engineering, Young Engineers and ITEE College. My favourite aspect to date has been working as part of the Awards and Honours committee where it’s a privilege to read high calibre CVs showcasing engineers amazing work journeys.

Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
I’ve always wanted to be an engineer. So much so, that I didn’t want to study theory of Engineering. I impatiently wanted to work in Engineering – taking things apart, learning how they work, putting them back together, adding improvements, etc.

How can Australian communities/people/society benefit from your work now and in the future?
I’ve worked across multiple projects from Defence Industry such as taking obsolete technology and suggesting future ones; through to integrating fixed and mobile telephone networks into 4G. Every time we advance one type of technology (and ultimately learn what it can do) we improve society’s interaction with technology. (Think back to what a mobile phone was in 2000 – a heavy brick!)

What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
The current project I am working on is fascinating – we are looking at various autonomous technology that can operate under the sea. Considering that electronics and sea water don’t mix, the types of technology available on the market are amazing.

What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
The Engineering Profession has trouble explaining their impact to individual people, communities and society in a simple way. Engineers follow logical processes and innovate every day. When a new solution is identified we don’t normally shout EUREKA! Engineers tend to implement improvements to everyday life in bland style. Think of the Cochlear hearing-aid, lifts, mobile phones, satellites, etc.

What excites you about the future of the profession or what opportunities do you see for the future?
The acceleration of new technologies to market and the diversification of applications is very exciting. Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation, Cyber Security and Micro-processing are currently opening new doors to what wasn’t previously possible.

Who is your engineering hero?
My engineering hero is the first Engineer I ever knew – my Dad as a Mining Engineer. He taught me that an inquisitive mind with the “can-do” attitude is a great recipe for learning, designing and improving, and ultimately engineering.