Alex Pugh IEng MICE

When I was a teenager, an engineer from Alfred McAlpines came to my school to promote civil engineering as a career. He brought an ice cream tub filled with soil and water and asked: ‘How could you build on such weak soil?’.

Alex Pugh
Alex Pugh

This made me really interested in working out the problems and the potential solutions. From that point, I started to think seriously about working in the built environment.

I now head up the civil asset management for the South East Queensland Network for Queensland Rail in Australia. My main role is to operate and maintain the railway infrastructure in Northern Queensland.

While growing up I was part of my family’s agricultural business. This exposed me to the forces of nature and mankind, and how they interact. However, I’d never known the power and destructive energy of a category 5 cyclone until Cyclone Yasi hit Queensland coast in 2011. The cyclone caused real damage to the railway system in North Queensland.

My job was to manage the response and the recovery of the railway before and after the cyclone had passed. This involved working out a recovery plan, assessing the damage and starting the repair straightaway. It was important to get this done quickly (in a matter of days) as the railway is an important part of the food supply chain for North Queensland.

I'm really glad that I followed my dream to become a professionally qualified civil engineer.

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