Flood Principal Emma Clements has over 20 years’ experience working in Australia and the UK on projects of varying scales. Emma talks about her interest in water engineering and passion for achieving the best results for her clients.
Can you tell us about your experience? What do you love about engineering?
I launched my engineering career in the Queensland mines undertaking water management programs and design and construction of river diversions. I have also worked with councils in Queensland and Victoria on Flood Risk management programs. I feel the role which consolidated my passion in water engineering was back when I was supporting a Country-Victorian council body (back then known as Wimmera Shire) to help them facilitate their river stabilization budget. This involved a lot of community networking and educating farmers on river stabilization techniques.
More recently, I have moved into development and work on a diverse range of mixed use projects throughout Queensland. I love getting involved in the project during the early stages, to help identify the site’s land and water opportunities and constraints. It’s great helping to create the development footprint while respecting the local topography and surroundings.
Overall, communication is key – with my team, my clients, with state and local authorities. That’s what I really love about my role – I get to talk shop all day.
Why water engineering?
I have always been intrigued with anything to do with water. When I was growing up, we had a hobby farm which always flooded. I was fascinated when it rained, how the water would rise and drop back, the speed of it, the damage it caused. I think this is where my interest started.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment the focus is on streamlining our teams to get through COVID-19. We have been working closely with councils and contractors over the phone and online to make sure our projects continue to progress. We are also focusing on consolidating and strengthening relationships with our clients. I think everyone is craving connection to the outside world at the moment, so we have been doing what we can to reach out, check in, and support others in any small way that we can.
What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?
I can’t say that I have one in particular. For me, the biggest achievement is to consistently get results across the line regardless of the size, and to hear the positive feedback from happy homeowners and satisfied developers.
What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned throughout your career?
Communication really is key. You have to put in effort to maintain good relationships, and be clear with both your team and your clients about what the expectations are and what you are doing.
What do you hope to achieve in your career over the next decade?
I am very happy with where I am at the moment, while of course still continuing to help Inertia grow from strength to strength. It took a very long time to get here, but I am happy to say that I have found a balance between work life and family that enables me to help the business grow by achieving quality service for our clients and active mentoring while as the same time helping my three boys grow into being the best they can be.
What advice would you give to a young engineer just starting their career?
Don’t be afraid to give everything a go! Get on site, challenge yourself with learning a skill, ask questions, pick up the phone to talk through a project – no task is too menial nor too complex. You just have to maintain a positive attitude and take every opportunity to deepen your understanding of the industry.
How have you been coping in isolation? Any tips for getting through it?
Exercise – I get up most mornings for a run, cycle or Pilates before the rest of the family are awake. I find the there is nothing better than watching the sunrise over our Brisbane and balance your mind, body and soul.
It is very important to do something for yourself that resets your mind before embarking into a day full of online classes with the kids and online meetings for work.