Amy Lezala is Section Lead for Through Life Engineering based in Melbourne, Australia. Last year, at the age of 29, Amy became the youngest international Fellow for the IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers). She told us about solving problems and why young engineers should embrace getting their hands dirty!
How did it feel to become the IMechE’s youngest international Fellow? And what advice would you give to young women thinking about an engineering career?
It was amazing. I was in the office late that evening, and when I got the email I was very excited. It is a validation of all my hard work. In terms of a message specifically for women; this always grates on me. I don’t see male or female engineers - instead, I always think, instead, of engineers who are passionate about their career. My advice to all young engineers is if you want it, go for it.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Problem-solving. Throughout my career I have loved the variety and the “whole of life” aspect, which to me is sustainable engineering; finding solutions which optimise maintenance and asset value.
What advice would you give someone starting their rail engineering career?
Spend time in the depot or on a production line. Learn the product by getting your hands on it; crawl all over the trains and learn which part does what and where it goes. While I was at a depot during my graduate scheme, I was re-fitting a hose under a train and a box obstructed the fixing. It was very fiddly to reattach. One of the fitters who was supervising me said candidly: “Next time you design a train, remember this”. I always have.
What should every visitor to Australia experience?
For nature, go to Queensland and the Northern Territory. In Queensland, explore Moreton and Fraser Islands in a 4x4, or go snorkelling to see tropical fish. Meanwhile, Melbourne is all about nightlife and culture.