Steve Adamthwaite

GradIEAust

Strategy Engineer – Sustainable Wastewater

Hunter Water

Steve is a Chemical Engineer who works as a Strategy Engineer in Sustainable Wastewater for Hunter Water. His role involves setting and shaping the regions strategy on wastewater to provide better outcomes for the community and a lower economic cost while decreasing environmental impact and ensuring sustainable operation. He has had a diverse career, with roles in academic research, mining, not-for-profit and utilities.

Steve is particularly passionate about STEM education, especially in rural and remote indigenous communities. He is the Immediate Past Chair of Young Engineers Newcastle and now sits on the National Young Engineers Committee as well as being part of the Newcastle Chemical College Committee and Division Committee.

How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
About 3 or 4 years ago I was invited to attend a committee meeting with the Chemical Branch and have become more involved since then. I was asked to be part of our Young Engineers Steering Committee because of my involvement on the Chemical Branch. A year later I was elected to Newcastle Division Committee, chaired Young Engineers and am now on the National Young Engineers Committee.

Why did you become a volunteer?
My career choice came about because of good community engagement from industry when I was young. I had a lot of opportunities growing up that allowed me to really know I wanted to be an engineer and I just wanted to be able to provide the same opportunities for those coming through now.

What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
The people – I have met some of my best friends through volunteering. It puts like-minded people together in a productive way and it’s a great way to really get to know someone.

What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
2019 Young Engineers Newcastle – secured a partnership sponsor to allow us to hold more events, partnered strategically with people to provide experts for CPD content and increased our social media reach. We had over 70,000 views of our content on LinkedIn alone.

How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
It has been a bit cyclic – they have both informed each other a bit. Probably the biggest way is that I wouldn’t be in the industry I am in currently without meeting people through volunteering.

How do you balance work and volunteering?
I’m someone who likes to be busy. I’m performing my best when I’m at 85% capacity, so I’ve used volunteering at times to add to the load and learn to be more productive with the time I have. If I have too much time I tend to be not as productive and fulfilled.

What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
Do it. Get in contact, reach out to someone and if you don’t know where to start ring your local office. Be upfront with your time commitments and expectations and there will always be a meaningful way to get involved.

Image: courtesy of Steve Adamthwaite