Project Manager Major Projects (now 6 years retired)
Paul Russell trained and worked at the BHP Newcastle Steelworks for 15 years before moving to Shortland County Council, which eventually became part of Ausgrid. Further study resulted in an MBA (Technology Management) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Management.
Paul retired after 31 years at Ausgrid – the last nine as a Project Manager Major Projects building 33kv and 132 KV Zone Substations around Newcastle.
Since retirement, Paul has been able to step up his volunteering time with Engineers Australia. He contributes to a range of activities, from being Convenor for the EngMentor Scheme for under graduates at Newcastle University, to working with the Engineering Heritage Chapter producing a sequel to the Division’s history book Shaping the Hunter, which tells the story the Hunter Valley’s re-invention since the 1989 earthquake and the closure of the steelworks in 1999.
At the recent Newcastle Division Centenary Celebration Dinner, Paul received an Engineers Australia Medal in recognition of his voluntary service to the Engineering Community.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
31 years, starting with the Electrical Branch Committee, later on the Electrical College Board and Newcastle Division Committee and more recently with the College of Leadership and Management Newcastle Branch.
Why did you become a volunteer?
To help the Electrical Branch Committee deliver worthwhile CPD, as one-hour technical presentation, site visits and half day seminars.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
Gaining access to sites that would not be possible any other way and organising technical talks “from the horse’s mouth”, which often helps members get greater insights and details than would be available other ways.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
There have been a few, but the one that stands out is adapting the simple GoTo Webinar application from the way it was used by the Electric Energy Society of Australia, to being used with live auditorium audiences and up to nearly 300 people across the world and many more watching the recording later.
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
When I was working, the things I was wanting to hear about for my work would be part of the input to the CPD selection process.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
These days – being retired – it is more a case of sharing my time between various activities besides Engineers Australia, and having time to do them all justice.
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Do it, for a satisfying experience working with like minded groups of engineering enthusiasts and supportive EA employees.
Image: courtesy of Paul Russell