Michael studied engineering at the University of Western Australia, with the assistance of a Commonwealth scholarship and an Engineering Cadetship with the WA state Public Works Department. He graduated in 1957 with first class honours in electrical engineering.
Early in his career, Michael worked on the design and supervision of the electrical aspects of the Ord River Diversion Dam and the Kununurra townsite infrastructure. In 1985, he was Chief Electrical Engineer of the Engineering Division in the Public Works Department (PWD). When PWD portfolios were passed on to other agencies that year, Michael moved to the newly formed Water Authority of WA. He was responsible for the electrical and mechanical aspects of the Authority’s activities.
Michael has now retired from professional engineering employment, but is still an active volunteer with Engineers Australia.
Michael has three sons who are engineers, and his wife Merlene assists him with his responsibilities as Chair of the Retired Engineers Group.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I started volunteering with IEAust. soon after I graduated, some sixty plus years ago. Over the years I have been a member of several different groups and committees and I was Western Australia Division Chairman in 1982.
Why did you become a volunteer?
I became a volunteer to contribute in a small way to the engineering profession and to improve my skills in a volunteering environment.
I have also volunteered with other organisations including the Institution of Electrical Engineers (now the Institution of Engineering and Technology), where, amongst other roles, I represented the Australasian Region on the IEE Council for three years.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I enjoy endeavouring to keep up with developments within the community and assisting others to also stay in touch with the ever-changing engineering technology.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I will leave it to others to judge what I have achieved in my volunteering but my current role as Chair of the Retired Engineers Group has been very rewarding.
The work of our Committee in arranging our activities is regularly recognised by those who attend our events.
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
The contacts made and the knowledge gained in volunteering can be a positive asset to one’s career. When you volunteer you will increase your technical and management skills and widen your professional network and this will undoubtably benefit your ability to contribute in your workplace.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
The close relationship between one’s efforts and the outcomes are often very evident when you are volunteering. Consequently, it is very easy to overdo your contribution but it is important to make sure that your time is shared with the other aspects of life. Ultimately it is a matter of priorities and choices.
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
I would encourage members to consider the importance of contributing to their professional organisation by offering their skills and time to support an appropriate group. Engineering, your Institution and you can all benefit.
By volunteering it is possible to make a difference in our world!