Engineering is such a diverse industry and can provide so many different career options to those working within the sector. Furthermore, the particular discipline with engineering (electrical, mechanical, chemical) you work in will dictate the type of projects you’ll be working on; from designing the electrical generation and distribution for a new building to designing the machinery required for a new train station. Today, we speak to Civil Engineer Lianna Zhang, who has carved out a niche for herself working within the water and environmental sector at PEAKURBAN.
PEAKURBAN itself is a consultancy firm that focuses on civil engineering, urban development, town planning and water resourcing and has worked on a number of projects for the wider community (in both Melbourne and Queensland) and property and development groups. Many of these projects involve creating and designing internal roadworks, stormwater, sewer, and water connections, negotiating and coordinating with local councils and developing and coordinating bulk earthworks to development sites. These tasks ultimately ensure the commencement of construction and project completion by deadline and PEAKURBAN have some significant projects under their belt, including Halcyon Greens (Australia’s largest golfing retirement community) and a 950 lot residential development at Ripley Valley.
Lianna provides some insight into the work she does within the water & environment space, how this work impacts and integrates with the greater projects PEAKURBAN work on, and the diverse opportunities a career in engineering provides. For those just starting out in their engineering career or considering branching out into different elements within civil engineering, Liana’s answers below demonstrate the exciting possibilities available within water and environmental design. Read on:
What first drew you to a career in engineering?
I have always been interested in science since I was little. When I moved to Australia at the age of 15, English was not my strongest subject, so naturally, I found a sense of belonging through physics and science, and they continue to fulfil my curiosity. After high school, I just carried on with the same passions and interests. I chose to study engineering because I saw the opportunity to put the things I love into practice and the potential it has to have a great impact on our lives. I stuck with my studies and then after I graduated, was able to get a job as a junior civil engineer.
What’s your favourite part of working within the Civil Engineering Space?
Civil engineering can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time. It offers me the opportunity to be part of the solution to the problems we all face today, such as climate change and natural resource depletion. The role also allows me to be creative and explore my beliefs in building a better future.
Recently you’ve been working on engineering projects within the water & environmental space. What do these type of projects involve?
Water & environmental engineering mainly focuses on water resource management. Planning, designing and evaluating pollution control processes. These projects include assessing all aspect of how urban development interact with our waterways, protective vegetation, and natural habitats. The most important project objective is to restore the natural ecosystem through effective ethical practices and provide a socially responsible solution to the community.
How do these water-based & environmental projects impact the local community? (feel free to provide any real-life projects you’ve worked on as an example)
Typically, these environmental projects analyse the existing and improved /developed models by comparing the two results, from there we provide innovative solutions for water management, irrigation and drainage systems from the local water supply through to scheme planning. The outcome of the projects provides the residents living around the area a parkland lifestyle with landscaped gardens and engineered water treatment system for better water quality, protecting natural habitats living in our waterways and maintain a sustainable ecosystem for our overall environment.
What has been your proudest achievement within your career to date?
Some of the proudest moments in my career are the times when I receive positive feedback from the client and the local community. I see those moments as a direct outcome of the hard work of both myself and my team. It’s nice to be able to share this positive feedback and job satisfaction with my team – I certainly wouldn't be able to complete these projects on my own. I am very fortunate to have team members who always motivate each other and share their knowledge and skills to deliver a better outcome. This is something I'm grateful for and take pride in every day.
For school leavers, currently thinking about what to study or what to pursue, why do you think civil engineering is a great option?
Civil engineering offers in-depth exposure to the challenges we face every day and the infrastructure we take for granted. As your career progresses, you will develop not only technical engineering skills but also project management and system design skills. And the best part of it, is being able to bring your ideas to life. There are a wide range of options you can pursue based on your interests and if you want to make a difference in the quality of people’s lives, Civil Engineering can be a great starting point.
Are there any exciting projects you are working on at the moment you can share with us?
Currently, I’m looking after a large development project with my team on the west side of Melbourne. Currently, we are analysing how water interacts with all aspects of the future development of this project and the surrounding natural environments. We are also investigating the dynamic of our natural waterway system as well as developing rainfall and storm prediction modelling while taking climate change into account. Through working closely together with the authorities and local governments, we can design and eventually build a sustained water treatment system for the local community.
Interested in civil engineering roles similar to Lianna? Click on the link below to see all the exciting opportunities our Design & Build engineering consultants are currently working on.
To find out more about PEAKURBAN and the work they do, you can click here