|Two Umow Lai Associates, Silvia Misuraca and Chris Grafton-White, talk about their careers.|
Silvia Misuraca, Senior Associate and Fire Engineer.
“I started working at Umow Lai over 18 years ago as a Fire Services Engineer under the watchful eye of Dominic Lai and David Uhlhorn. Over the years I’ve wondered why do we work so hard and why do we put so many hours into projects? It’s not for the glory and praise – let’s be honest, that is usually attributed to others. We keep going because it makes us proud to complete a job well done – until the next one.
“My passion has always been for fire services. However I was challenged to become an all-round consultant, and gain knowledge of all facets of building services. In time, the fire discipline grew from one (i.e. me) to an entire team. I headed the Fire Services Department for a number of years until my long-term colleague Andrew Oxley took over the role.
“The company has supported me through further study and returning back to work part time following two maternity leaves. And yes, it has grown in the Melbourne office, interstate including links with companies overseas. One thing that has not changed, and stands strong today, is the friendly working environment. All the directors and staff are approachable and have a focus on producing quality engineering design for all our projects. Professional development is part of Umow Lai’s core goals for all staff.
“I have personally worked on many projects during my career at Umow Lai, across most sectors. One of my personal highlights was working on the Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC). It was a challenging project with a difficult construction phase but the final result is one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in Melbourne. To top this off, my daughter’s annual school music concerts are held at the MRC and I beam with joy each year I see her there on the stage.
Chris Grafton-White, Associate, Mechanical Engineer
“What’s good about working at Umow Lai is the people. Umow Lai is a diverse and dynamic group of engineers who are passionate about engineering and the projects they work on, a group of driven individuals who are relaxed, easy to work with and down to earth making it an enjoyable place to work.
“I joined Umow Lai from the UK back in 2007. I’ve worked on a range of projects, some challenging, diverse and innovative in various sectors of the industry. My most memorable projects include Melbourne Airport, Melbourne Girls Grammar School and the Australian Catholic University among others in the tertiary education sector.
“Over the years working in the Australian construction industry, I’ve noticed that the gap between the emerging technologies of the European market and the uptake of our industry is closing, that Australian clients are more accepting of innovative methods of building. Our clients and developers are becoming more astute regarding their energy and water consumption and there is an increasing emphasis on high efficiency building design.
“Engineering is a passion; being able to make things better and fix problems is very rewarding. Engineers are in unique situation, being able to drive environmental issues such as climate change and improve our carbon footprints; that’s what is exciting.”