The aspirations of a self-professed humanitarian engineer
As a Works Planner at Aqua Metro, Ali Rahimi (BE(Chemical) 2013) manages $2.5 million annual turnover delivering service connections, sewer and water extensions, and commercial plumbing for water authorities. In doing so, he aims to develop sustainable partnerships and to create a cooperative environment in the water sector.
“I manage several teams in the South East Water, Yarra Valley Water and City West Water service areas – this involves new asset installation, and renewal and maintenance of existing assets,” explains Ali. “I am also a project engineer on a number of Capital Delivery Projects for Melbourne Water; these projects are very diverse. They could be anything between working on picturesque retarding basins (for storm water management) to working in complex environments such as Eastern Treatment Plant and Western Treatment Plant.
In furthering his career, Ali says he is open to new experiences. “I’m in the trial-and-error stage of my life where I’m trying a lot of different things to learn and test my strengths and weaknesses while preparing for the next stage which is consolidating this learning into a specific field of expertise,” he shares. Ali is currently working towards building his expertise in sustainability and risk management, undertaking postgraduate studies to earn a Master of Sustainable Practice.
Five or so years ago, when Ali first entered the water industry, he noticed a dearth of young people coming up through the ranks. “Since then, the water authorities and associated businesses have experienced an increased intake of young people,” he reports. “They’re the future of the industry – we need young people to keep our waterways healthy and our water supply network robust.”
Ali serves as President of the Victorian chapter of Engineers Without Borders, where he works with other young engineers to support their activities to alleviate poverty worldwide through humanitarian engineering and human-centered design. “What I love most about the organisation is the passion,” he says. “Everyone is so galvanized and committed to making a positive social impact through engineering, in Australia and overseas.”
To engineers just starting out, Ali offers this perspective: “Choose an industry you’re passionate about and stay the course. Don’t let your area of study dictate your career path – instead let it enrich your career choice. I chose to stick with the water industry and to let my chemical engineering background enhance my work. This was the best decision I’ve ever made.”