Norman Himsley

FIEAust CPEng APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Private Consultant

NSW Dams Safety Committee

Norm has more than forty-five years’ experience in the planning, investigation, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of major engineering structures and infrastructure including buildings, dams (water and tailings), roads, bridges, power stations, and water and sewage distribution and treatment.

For the past ten years, he has specialised as a dams consultant, working on dams in the water and mining industries throughout the world, mentoring dam consultant engineers, peer reviewing design, surveillance and investigation work. In tandem, he is also one of the two independent expert members of the NSW Dams Safety Committee (DSC) charged with setting and auditing the safety standards of the 400 prescribed dams in NSW to protect the community from dam failures.

As part of his former position as Executive Engineer of the DSC, which he held for more than 20 years, Norm set up and continues to run regular training programmes through TAFE for dam operators and owners both in NSW and throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Norm has also been involved in or chaired several working groups in the preparation of the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) Guidelines on various dam management subjects, and was Chair of the ANCOLD Professional Development Working Group. He has been actively involved for more than twenty years with Engineers Australia, working in the education and assessment area, and has been Chair of Sydney Division’s Education and Assessment Committee since 2000.

How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I have been an EA volunteer for more than 25 years.

Why did you become a volunteer?
I became a volunteer to give back my experience to mentor others.

What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I enjoy my role as a mentor and in inspiring others to take up the profession of engineering.

What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
My greatest achievements as an EA volunteer were the works undertaken during my term as EA Sydney President and setting up activities and events in schools to inspire school children to undertake engineering as a career.

How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
My career and experience have informed and guided my work as an EA volunteer.

How do you balance work and volunteering?
I am now semi-retired so have more time for volunteering.

What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Being an EA volunteer is a self-satisfying role which improves your growth as an individual.

How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
I have been fortunate to have worked in a research and development role for the majority of my career. This has allowed me to recognise the importance of balancing innovation with the need to generate strong commercial value to ensure sustainable results, through sound engineering judgement and ethical practice.

These guiding rules continue to provide me with a rewarding and enjoyable career and this has inspired me to share these virtues with others through my volunteer work within the engineering community.

Norman Himsley

How do you balance work and volunteering?
There is always more that can be done, but it is important to understand that any amount of voluntary work is always well received and it can be in many forms, so it need not take over. I started the Chartership process with the support of my employer, so it is a balance that must be found, and for me, membership has enhanced my engineering and business competencies through technical training and networking opportunities.

If you are fortunate to be able to bring benefit to your work life through your voluntary activities as I do, then this most certainly helps. I also have a very understanding and supportive wife, Joanne, to whom I am most grateful!

What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Give it a go, it will give more than you know.

I have had the pleasure of assisting many groups and individuals as a representative of Engineers Australia and other organisations, and there is a common theme, the more you give, the more you gain. You will be well supported by a team of your peers and everyone has something to offer from a friendly smile to technical expertise.

When I am asked why do you do it, I always wonder… why don’t you try and then you will know.

Image: courtesy of Norman Himsley