The Stage 1 Physics class has just finished their first topic about Motion and Forces and start their Science as Human Endeavour (SHE) task, investigating space technologies and their links to society. To cement some of the ideas behind the key concepts (Communication and Collaboration, Development, Influence and Application and Limitation), we were joined by a guest speaker on 14 September through the CSIRO STEM Professionals in Schools program: Ian Coker. Ian shared his amazing career and insights as an Engineer and Business Manager, working on massive projects in industry.

Ian started out studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautics), but given his love of learning, went on to study a Master of Science (Aeronautics and Astronautics), a Master of Business Administration, and is now currently studying a Bachelor of Law. What the students found most interesting about his career and education background is that there has been a lot of movement and growth.

Ian started his career in the Defence force, where he trained as an Engineer and Officer, and had the opportunity to study his Masters degree in Illinois (USA) on a project looking into the tensile strength of carbon fibre. He then worked in private industry for about five years in the field of oil and gas and had the opportunity to hone his managerial skills on deep sea oil rigs. He now works for Bureau Veritas; a world leader in testing, inspection and certification that offers expertise, impartiality and independence for companies and public authorities on broad-scale projects and asset management (in over 150 countries).

He is currently Executive General Manager and Lead Technical Engineer for the company, having established a highly competent and collaborative team that is regarded as a market leader in complex asset management that provides solutions for the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors, while working in partnership with investment, government and commercial entities such as Tesla, BHP, Santos, Beach Energy and Exxon-Mobil. He is based in Adelaide in the new Lot 14 district.

When asked if he ever saw himself where he is today while he was at high school, he said "no; I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do." He followed the opportunities that were presented to him in his areas of interest.

Throughout his fascinating story about his career, he was also able to provide a context for the students around the key concepts of their SHE task as he constantly reflected on the people and the teams that he worked/works with to get projects finished. "No engineer works on designs by themselves - in order to get a project finished, you have teams of scientists working on collecting data, mathematicians analysing data right down to the HR personnel who manage the hiring and skill sets of the people involved, and the stock control personnel keeping track of the materials required."

The students enjoyed talking to Ian as he really made 'science as a human endeavour' real. His experiences and journey also offered them some inspiration for where they might be able to go when they follow their interests.
  • AuthorStefania Pulford
  • Date15-Sep-21
  • CategoriesTerm3