Cameron’s engineering career owes its beginnings to his grandfather, who was the source of his inspiration to travel this path.
“My grandfather wasn’t an engineer in the profession but had a close connection with the field. He was one of the last members of the engineering team at The Tasmanian Railways. And he was good with his hands. I loved going down to Hobart to spend time with him. I spent a lot of time with him nearly every school holiday until I was about 12 or 13 years old.”
At the core of their profession, engineers can bring almost any abstract concept that can navigate through science and maths into a tangible reality. While the changes in technology and innovation will continue to happen, some core engineering principles are expected to remain unchanged.
“The processes in engineering have evolved. But I’d say that the actual end game hasn’t. We are built to logically resolve and make elements of a project work. And the role and responsibilities of an engineer, from an ethical point of view, haven’t changed either. Our role in society is to make sure that people are safe.”
Quite contrary to the fundamentals of an engineer, the role of a leader in the engineering business has changed significantly.
“From a leadership point of view, WGA’s Melbourne business has grown. The projects have become larger and more complex, and greater thought is required to ensure client outcomes are achieved. Therefore, the responsibility of driving an engineering business of this size is exponentially different from 20 years ago. There are many factors inside and outside of the business we interface with, including various stakeholders, both internally and externally.
Also, time frames have certainly accelerated with the advent of technology. That time vs cost relationship has become more pronounced over the journey and we have become more constrained on how outcomes are derived due to that time.”
Challenging project landscapes are common elements that all engineers face in the industry, novices and whizzes alike. Striking a healthy balance between an in-depth understanding of engineering principles and technology is an excellent way for budding engineers to harness their ability to steer complex problem-solving. As a Consulting Structural & Civil Engineer with over 3 decades of experience, Cameron points out that this balance can empower engineers to tackle even the most challenging projects head-on, such as the award-winning South Melbourne Primary Vertical School (Victoria’s first of a kind), whose design challenged our teams to look beyond the industry norms.
“To do a back-of-the-envelope calculation, you need to know your fundamentals. Software makes it easier, but the understanding of principles of physics is important.”
Cameron believes the WGA culture provides a great opportunity and a learning ground to do so. The WGA culture that enables a daring-to-be-different attitude helps our people to avoid following the crowd for the sake of it. Working smarter, not harder, helps growing engineers thrive in challenging situations and encourages them to travel unknown paths.
“Don’t be scared of asking questions. When you’re a graduate, asking all kinds of questions is a rite of passage. We only learn by making mistakes.”
Cameron, a key figure in founding WGA Melbourne, is the Joint Regional Manager for Victoria operations alongside Matt Hyatt. WGA’s Melbourne business began in 2000 with a team of ten people and primarily focused on the Infrastructure and Temporary Works sector. Since then, the crew has expanded to over 130 employees, offering comprehensive engineering and project management services in various areas, including Geotechnical, Traffic, Defence, Project Management, and Ports and Marine.
Cameron’s impressive engineering portfolio speaks for itself, with many notable projects in the education, aged care, and retail sectors, including award-winning projects such as Carey Grammar and South Melbourne Primary School under his belt.