Soyun Punyadasa

FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Director

CMP Consulting Group Pty Ltd

Soyun is a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 25 years’ experience working in the field of drainage, sewerage and sewage treatment. In particular, his key experience and expertise lies in the Planning, Design, Project Management, Asset Management, Project Reviews and Remediation, and Construction Management of Major Sewerage, Drainage and Water Assets.

Soyun obtained a BEng with First Class Honours in Civil Engineering from the Queen’s University of Belfast, and is a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, Member of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, and Fellow of Engineers Australia.

How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia and within the wider engineering community?
I have been volunteering as a guest speaker on leadership at Engineers Australia for over three years. I am deeply passionate about making sure that every one of our young engineers believes in themselves, their unique skill sets and how they will make a massive positive impact to all people of our Country.

Why did you become a volunteer?
I have been volunteering my entire life. I have been working at old age homes, all-abilities schools and churches since I was 13 years old. I believe strongly in the need to give back to the community in any way you can. Engineers have a career where we undertake projects so that the community has minimal impact in the work we do. Therefore, volunteering allows us to help the community but also share our vocation.

What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I love helping people. I have a burning desire to create positive cultural change for the proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of our Country. This positive cultural change, coupled with creating real employment opportunities, will make a massive difference in our country’s reconciliation journey.

I have been fortunate to have been able to start a school program called “CMP’s Gems in STEM” where we work with our Partners (Melbourne Water, South East Water, City West Water, Yarra Valley Water and Engineers Australia) to inspire Year 10 Students to a vocation in engineering.

What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Definitely being part of the team that is creating the first ever 100% Aboriginal owned civil sub-contractor business and creating the Gems in STEM Program.

How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
I love being an engineer. I am the son of an engineer. Engineering is who I am, and it is very much a part of my DNA.

I am deeply aware of the benefits that engineers can play in society, through the business as usual work that we do (and everyone rightly expects); but also in the work we can do to inspire and improve communities through mentoring, coaching, providing our time and advice.

How do you balance work and volunteering?
I have the most amazing wife who believes 100% in what I do, and supports me. We have three active kids, and I coach three basketball teams – as it allows me to provide further positive role models to a wider reach in our community.

What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
If it’s in your heart to help, get involved. Work out what you can do, and either join forces with someone, or start your own initiative. There is so much that needs to be done. Be ready for setbacks, but keep the big picture of “service to country and community” in mind always.

Image: courtesy of Soyun Punyadasa