Meg Teasdell

MIEAust

Manager – Tenders

Birdon Pty Ltd

Meg manages the project tendering processes at Birdon, a global group of companies operating in the maritime, military and resource sectors. With a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering and a Master of Environmental Engineering Management, Meg has over 20 years’ experience with industry, government and corporate. Most of her experience lies within environmental engineering, implementing solutions and driving cultural change. Meg has worked with organisations such as Qantas, ANSTO, Johnson & Johnson, Freightcorp, ABB, and CSIRO.

How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
I joined Engineers Australia as a student, over twenty years ago. I became more involved after moving to the Mid North Coast and have held a few roles within the committee, including Chair.

The more involved you are in an organisation, the more rewarding it can be. I’m involved in Engineers Australia’s mentoring program and I’ve also represented Engineers Australia and the field of environmental engineering in various capacities. I’ve been involved throughout my career in talks and workshops for high school students as well as guest lecturing at UTS. I really love hearing back from students later who have chosen to study engineering.

Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
My parents have always encouraged me to be inquisitive and to find out how things worked and why. I enjoy being challenged, and having a good problem to solve, especially ones that consider the human and behavioural factors that go into how we approach our world. It was a good choice for me – I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to work with some inspiring, creative thinkers.

How can Australian communities/people/society benefit from your work now and in the future?
As engineers, we’re part of a team, often part of a company or organisation; we operate in an industry or field. We’re part of our communities; I’m a mother of young Australians. We carry a responsibility in each of these roles to keep moving our society towards the most positive version of the future. Technology is so exciting, and it can also be terrifying, particularly in the military context, where much of my work sits. I’d love to see us focus our energy on positive, constructive, sustainable technologies and ideas to grow that branch of our future.

What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
Most of the time when you ask me, it will be the project I’m currently working on. In my current role, I work across the front end of projects. It is my role to consider how these projects can be carried out sustainably, economically, with the least risk, and how innovation could help our customers. I’m particularly enjoying our asset recycling projects which involve recycling major assets such as defence assets, or major plant from extractive industries.

What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
We aren’t known to be as politically vocal as we could be (apologies Dr Faruqi). I’m proud of this profession, of our code of ethics, and of our stance on climate change and a sustainable future. I would love to see more engineers and scientists involved in government, and in ensuring that engineering and science is considered in setting government policy.

What excites you about the future of the profession or what opportunities do you see for the future?
Engineering is about the application of science and technology to solve problems. It’s an exciting space to be operating in and a big role (and responsibility) to apply technology that moves our society toward a positive future.

We have a fantastic opportunity right now in Australia to shift the focus of our economy away from fossil fuels. It’s a massive challenge and will take some planning, and a shift in policy. We certainly have enough brainpower though, and I have no doubt that we can find solutions.

Who is your engineering hero?
I have a few, including Dr Mehreen Faruqi and Dr Marlene Kanga, as well as many others including family and friends. And importantly, my father, who continues to challenge me to approach problems with a creative mindset.

Image: courtesy of Meg Teasdell.