Kyle Fredrick was inspired to become an engineer when he heard it described by one of our lecturers as “making change from the ground up”. As a sustainability-focused engineer, that’s now exactly what he does.
Career: Engineer at Morphum Environmental
Programme: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
Specialisations: Civil Engineering
“The main thing I enjoyed was meeting people with similar interests, there are a whole bunch of people there that want to be engineers so I made some great friends. I think working in groups definitely helps too, you get a wide cross-section of people you have to work with. As much as they could be a drag, the big group projects gave me quite a bit of satisfaction that we had all put our work together and come out with a good result. Getting prepared for this kind of collaboration at uni was helpful for my current role as an Engineer in the Environmental Team at Morphum.
“I do a lot of project management, so I'll basically be managing other people in my team to get things done. For example, with a topographic survey I'll liaise with the surveyor to develop a price and go right through managing it. I developed these skills from a construction management paper which put what we had been learning into a practical context. We weren't just crunching numbers and doing calculations, it was more thinking about how things are actually going to work and dealing with contractors and clients.
“One of the things I like most about my job is that I'm not doing the same thing over and over again. I help a lot in the field work aspect, the other day I was helping the science team do some stream assessments for Auckland Council. Sometimes I'll be just managing data for a week on end staring at spreadsheets, and then the next week I might not be in the office at all.
“Morphum’s values are built around sustainability, and that’s really affected my vision for the future, especially since as a kid I always had a real interest in the marine environment and going on bush walks. I’d love to have sustainability as a key driver behind all decision making in civil projects, because at the moment it often seems like an afterthought or an inconvenience. To see the culture change from seeing preservation as an extra expense to a main goal for contractors would be rewarding.
“I also want to feel like an expert. There are a lot of people at Morphum I look up to. You can come to them with a problem and if they don’t know how to solve it almost instantly they know how to put you on the right path. I want to be that expert people can come to.
“Based on my experiences, I’d tell future students to find something they’re passionate about, follow it and be brave. Coming into third year I was quite interested in the environmental engineering side but a lot of my friends were all taking the structural route so I followed them thinking it would open up more options for me. I didn’t enjoy it as much and don’t use it in my current job, so if I had been a bit braver and acknowledged my passion for the environmental side I would have been better prepared for my current career.
“Try not to leave everything to the last minute too, although I know university students love doing that. I’d say make the most of the resources too, like talking to tutors and lecturers as you need it, they’re all really approachable.”