As South Africa celebrated Women’s Month in August, the Vaal branch and Proconics decided to celebrate women in engineering with a technical evening highlighting the importance of a diverse team for solving the problems of the future.
The presenter was Dirk van der Walt, a professional engineer with 15+ years’ experience as the Control & Instrumentation manager for Proconics at the Vanderbijlpark office. He also serves on the Vaal and national SAIMC committees, and is responsible for growth and standards respectively.
The panel consisted of 3 women that have made a significant impact in their respective fields:
• Annemarie van Coller: a professional engineer with 15 years’ experience, Annemarie is currently the director of the National Committee of the SAIMC, driving the organization to new highs. In her professional career, she has worked on site at Sasol plants as a control engineer, and now a data engineer specializing in analysis and insights to strengthen the business and make it more robust.
• Elmarie Koen: an electrical engineer by trade, but as life creates interesting turn-offs she now finds herself the marketing manager of a a proudly South African engineering company. Her passion is to show and communicate the wonderful world of engineering, sharing lessons learned with other business disciplines.
• Elizma van der Walt: a professional engineer with over 15 years’ experience. Elizma’s career has taken her from the Sasol plant workshop to being a shareholding partner in Proconics. As engineering director, responsible for all engineering disciplines, she has a passion for collaborative leadership and created an inter-disciplinary team that can take on any challenge in the complex brownfield refining and chemical spaces.
The panel shared personal stories of their engineering experiences and influences, and gave advice to inspire the next generation of women engineers. We need to encourage more opportunities for women in science and engineering to harness this powerful resource for the development of our country.
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