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Michelle Too

8.00 AM – Arrive at work

I like to arrive early so I can have a nice desk by the window, which looks out onto the harbour. Once I choose my desk for the day, I then write down my to-do list and go through my emails. Every day at work looks different for me, but today my main priority is to design a stormwater system. The fun (but sometimes a little tricky) thing about this project is that it is done in collaboration with other engineering disciplines.  

Michelle arrives at the office and chooses a desk by the window

8.30 AM – Site visit

Before I get started on the design, I need to go on a site visit for one of my other projects. One of the first stormwater-design projects I worked on as a graduate at AECOM is almost near completion. Before heading out to the site, we check the Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) to ensure that we are aware of any known risks and the controls around these. My colleague and I call the contractor to let them know that we are on our way and then we are off. Once we get to site, we review any new safety issues on site and sign the Contractor Safety Register. We then undertake an additional ‘Step-back’ (a task risk assessment). This additional quick check is handy to ensure that we are comfortable and feel safe to proceed with our inspection and gives us the opportunity to raise any potential hazards that the contractor may have missed. There are no new safety issues today, but if there were, we would assess the situation and follow with the appropriate action.

Michelle goes on a site visit

10.00 AM – Meet with the project civils lead

It was a fairly straightforward site visit, so it is not long before I am back at the office. I meet with the project civils lead to discuss the stormwater design of this new project. This is my opportunity to ask him questions and to clarify anything that I am unsure of. I work with him to ensure that I have the right approach as every region has different design guides and land conditions. He also provides advice about hydrological analysis and stormwater design.

10.30 AM – Start design

I make a start on the catchment analysis and use design guidelines, as well as my engineering judgement, to calculate the stormwater demand. For this design, the programs I am using to assist me are AutoCAD and Excel.

12.30 PM – Lunch time

It’s time for a break! I like to eat lunch at the office overlooking the beautiful view of Wellington harbour with the other graduates before going for a walk along the waterfront (or sometimes this becomes a walk to window shop along Lambton Quay). In the summer, I like to use this time to go for a run along the waterfront to Oriental Bay.

Michelle having lunch at the office overlooking the beautiful view of Wellington harbour

1.30 PM – Continuing design

I continue to work on the design. Usually, I like to block the entire day for design work, so I can get in the zone. If I am not doing design work, then you can usually find me working with the transport advisory team, out on site, supporting our design and project managers, compiling contract documents, or having internal or client meetings. Once the catchment analysis is done, the fun part begins: the design of the stormwater system. I enjoy this because we get to propose designs for the client that are fit for purpose while keeping in mind economic, environmental and social sustainability. 

4.15 PM – Coffee break

Time to grab a quick hot drink with the ‘hot drink crew’. Sometimes we bring out a pack of cards and have a round or two of Three Up Three Down.

4.30 PM – Time to organise an event for Connect (AECOM’s ‘early professionals’ group)

As the Wellington Connect Committee leader, I coordinate the Wellington Connect Committee members who are organising the next Connect event. The committee puts on events throughout the year that facilitate professional development, corporate social responsibility, health and safety, and networking for early professionals at AECOM. Organising these events normally involves finding speakers, catering for the event, and sending invitations. Today, we are helping the health and safety team to organise the annual AECOM early professionals Health and Safety Breakfast — a fun event that equips early professionals to be site ready.

5.30 PM – Ultimate Frisbee

I grab a quick bite to eat before heading to my ultimate frisbee game. After the game, I like to hit the gym before heading back home and relaxing.