Based in Sydney, Maddy Johnson, Affil.AIRAH, is a graduate mechanical engineer at A.G. Coombs, working in the Projects team.
During my time in the industry, I have primarily worked on new-build design and construction projects in a range of different sectors. I have also spent time doing advisory work, where we focused on existing building energy optimisation and services upgrade proposals.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about design.
Good design is about balancing cost, efficiency, sustainability and innovation while maintaining system functionality, longevity, ease of installation, serviceability, health and safety standards, and code compliance.
I’m also passionate about trying to spread kindness. Even a small gesture can make the difference to someone’s day, especially in the workplace where it can, at times, be a high‑stress environment.
Outside of work, I love playing guitar and singing. Post-lockdown I have started doing volunteer performances at a nursing home, which allows me to combine these passions.
Are things back to normal, post-pandemic?
Even prior to COVID-19 there was a push in the industry towards improved ventilation and increasing indoor air quality in buildings. The pandemic really put a spotlight on this, and greater consideration in design will start to become the new normal.
What do you like about your job?
I really enjoy the fast-paced nature of the construction industry. Every day there’s a new challenge to undertake and a goal you are working towards.
I love that every day I am coming to work to help be a part of building something tangible. At the end of a job, it’s very satisfying to walk past a building and know that you’re part of its history.
“Even a small gesture can make the difference to someone’s day, especially in the workplace where it can, at times, be a high‑stress environment”
What do you find challenging?
Maintaining a good work-life balance can be tough, especially in construction where the hours can be long at times.
I am still working on getting the balance right, but one way I have actively been addressing this is considering the “non‑negotiable” things that are important to me and making sure I incorporate these into my schedule.
What trait do you most admire in others?
I admire the ability to teach and impart knowledge to others. I have been fortunate enough to have been taught and mentored by some great engineers over the years, for which I am very grateful. A good mentor can make a world
of difference to someone’s learning and development, and I hope to be able to pay that forward.
What would you most like to have that you do not have?
I would love to own my own home. It’s a difficult thing to aspire to, especially for the younger generation given the current housing affordability crises in Australian cities, but it is my hope I will one day achieve this goal.
What are you optimistic about?
I believe that addressing climate change is one of the engineering challenges of our generation.
The HVAC industry is a significant contributor to this problem; however, it also means we have the opportunity to be change makers.
I am excited to be part of an industry that is driving innovation in the sustainability space, and it makes me optimistic for the future of our planet!
This article appears in ecolibrium’s February-March 2023 issue
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