Russell Ellen

FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

WA Chapter Chairman

Electric Energy Society of Australia

Russell Ellen was the first National President of the EESA, having helped found the organisation out of the former ESEA, the Electricity Supply Engineers Association of NSW, which had existed since 1929, and the NCE electrical panels. He was National President from 2000-2004, Chairman of the QLD chapter in 2000 and 2001, and has been Chairman of the WA Chapter since 2014.

Russell’s career has seen him rise to senior positions as General Manager, Vice President and board membership of the ABB global distribution transformer marketing team and senior postings in Thailand, China, Spain and Turkey. He is currently ABBs National Transport Trade and Logistics Manager, based in Perth, since 2014.

How long have you been with Engineers Australia?
My involvement with Engineers Australia began in earnest in 1991.

What lead you to become a volunteer?
In 1991 I became chairman of the WA Joint Electrical panel and was invited to join the National Committee of Electrical Engineering, now called the Electrical College.

What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
As a team player with a passion for developing others, I find volunteering a vital asset for any engineer aspiring to senior leadership positions in our industry.

What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
I was involved in the strategic decisions from the EA board to form Societies that would allow technologists to participate in technical events, conferences and be responsible to deliver CPD. This was the impetus for the foundation of EESA.

How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
My career has required a great level of persistence and tenacity. One of the most challenging and rewarding times in my career was as project manager for the Broken Hill 220KV new power supply to the mines, commissioned in 1985.

During the project CRA enforced a change in work practices with blasting underground during crib (lunch) time. CRA asked their workers to remain underground to do blasting during their crib time instead of after each shift where the workers came up to the ground. The miners were on strike for more than 15 weeks before the strike was broken, and agreement was made to allow the mine to introduce blasting during the workers crib time. The project was delivered ahead of time with bonuses paid by CRA.

What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Work and life experience in other fields, including volunteer work, will help your career progression. Develop a strong network of friends and contacts inside and outside the industry. Most jobs come from personal contacts.