What did you study?
I have an undergraduate degree and PhD in Mechanical Engineering, both from the University of Adelaide. I specialised in numerical modelling, which uses computers to simulate physical phenomena such as the flow of fluids, or the stress distribution in solids.
I have had quite a varied career, with the underlying theme of numerical modelling. After my undergraduate degree, I started up a consulting company that helps many companies model a wide variety of physical processes, including atomisation, spin coating, gas turbines and even loudspeakers.
I then decided to leave the consulting company to start a PhD in optimising the sound quality from loudspeakers. I spent three wonderful years pursuing research in methods to optimise the shape of cinema loudspeakers, in order to improve their sound quality. The outcome of this research was a patent as well as a PhD.
After a brief stint at the CSIRO, I co-founded a company that focuses on wind resource assessment, specifically for optimising the energy yield from small wind turbines. We do this by measuring and simulating the wind flow around the potential turbine sites. Our website is: www.cyclopicenergy.com
Tasks and responsibilities of your current job
I manage the research and development of the wind simulation code that we use in Cyclopic Energy. I also interact with clients to develop new business. We need to be able to respond quickly to the needs of the small wind industry, and deliver accurate results at an acceptable price.
What impacts might this have on the wider community?
By fostering the uptake of renewable energy, we reduce dependency on fossil fuels, which will have a major impact on the wider community.
The most rewarding part of my current role
Providing a valuable service to clients that enables the development of cost effective on-site renewable energy.
The most challenging part of my current role
Managing the balance between my commercial and technical roles. Both can be demanding and both are equally as important in a small start-up business.
What career advice would you give to school students interested in a similar career?
If you have an interest in renewable energy, then studying science, technology or engineering will offer a path to a career in this new and exciting area.