Paul McGlade recently joined our Brisbane team to work with Stephen Beamond, Executive General Manager of Queensland, and Damian Pianta, Senior Project Engineer, on a high purity alumina project.
Engenium were asked to complete the detailed design and technical support for the scale-up of a laboratory process into a mini plant, producing 99.99% to 99.999% alumina, for the use in lithium batteries and sapphire glass screens.
“The client has a source of kaolin, an aluminium mineral, in northern Queensland and saw an opportunity to develop a high-value product from this”, said Paul. “Having previously trained as a Metallurgical Engineer, this project sparked my interest.”
“I find most things amusing – too many people take everything way too seriously.”
Paul’s main responsibility, as Project Manager, is to keep everything pointing in the right direction with regards to the progression and outcome of the project.
“The high purity alumina project involves a technology development partner, a Queensland University, as well as the client from a private company. I’m in regular contact with each of these stakeholders to keep the project on track”, Paul commented.
“I take inspiration from people with a long-term vision and the wisdom to avoid reacting to everyday noise.”
So, what inspired Paul to become an engineer? “I don’t think I was inspired; it was more of a natural progression as I was good at maths and science at school. However, a pure science degree did not seem to end up in a meaningful profession for me, so I chose metallurgical engineering as it was the closest to physics, which was my favourite subject.”
In addition to the technical know-how, Paul also believes you need several soft skills such as logic, empathy, and patience to successfully manage engineering projects. “These traits are important for helping to guide a team”, he says.
“Outside of work, I am building a car whenever I can sneak the time in. Travel is always welcome too, even if it’s only imaginary travel at the moment.”
When asked about his favourite quote, Paul recites an abstract quote from the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”, which is from the poem Do not go gentle into that good night.
“But for an engineering audience,” he said, “Perhaps a technical quote from Richard Feynman on the space shuttle Challenger accident would be more appropriate, ‘For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled’.”