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World Engineering Day : Future focus drives engineer down robotics path

Engineering is opening gateways to new frontiers including robotics in space, explains Nexxis Solutions Engineer Leon McEniery.

Leon McEniery was set to become a chef, before an interest in robotics propelled him down another career pathway.

Instead of cooking up a storm in the kitchen, Leon has gone on to use his hands in a completely different industry – engineering.

“I was good at maths so in Year 11 and 12 I did an advanced diploma in engineering before going on to university,” he said.

“I really like robotics and I enjoy building things – being an engineer means you get to build things for a living, which is fantastic.”

Leon joined the Nexxis team just over two years ago, after graduating from Curtin University where he studied Mechatronics Engineering, specialising in robotics.

Ahead of World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development on March 4, Leon explained the importance of giving back to the next generation of budding engineers.

“I’m really looking forward to supervising students doing their final year thesis this year, which will give them a really good taste for what it’s like to work in the industry,” he said.

Diversifying their skills is the best advice Leon has for the engineering students.

“When you have a broad range of skills you can do a lot of things, that’s one of the advantages of mechatronics engineering,” Leon explained.

“Engineering really is the job of the future – with automated robots it really is the stuff of movies.”

As Leon explained, what’s also exciting about choosing a career in engineering is the unknown.

“The jobs we will end up doing in the future probably don’t even exist yet,” he said.

“I would love to be involved in robotics in space – I believe there will be an industry for that in the next few years and in Australia, we’re in a great position to drive it given our industry is very much focused on remote operations.”

At Nexxis, Leon has been working on a range of projects including remote operation of a robot over a satellite network, sensor integration, and 3D mapping.

He is also enjoying the research and development side of things, including the advancement of Nexxis’ Magneto Platform, which is leading the way in hazardous area inspections, and mitigation of human confined space entry on site.

“This industry is very fast paced and agile, and Nexxis is at the forefront which means you have a lot of autonomy. Being able to solve problems for clients is very rewarding.

“As well as a great team culture, one of the best things about working for Nexxis is the variety – being able to wear different hats and getting exposed to so many different parts of the business.”

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