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 and 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 organisation to new highs. In her professional career, she has worked on site at Sasol plants as a control engineer, and is now a data engineer specialising 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 as the marketing manager of 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.
September technology evening
Our presenter for the September technology evening was Monish Gala from Siemens Energy, who has more than 15 years’ experience in the energy field, leading projects and designing hardware and software for coal power plants. He is currently the digitalisation champion for the southern African region, and also the technical advisor and bid manager for the organisation’s industrial customers.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is no longer science fiction, but has great applications ready for deployment with plenty of benefits that can be taken from to improve the way we execute our work. Making digital real and understanding its applications and benefits is crucial as many businesses embark on their own digital transformation journeys.
Amongst others, Monish covered the following topics: making digital real, cybersecurity, and remote field service. Digitalisation has the power to transform industry and society in ways that we are only beginning to understand. It can enable the construction of better and smarter buildings, make manufacturing processes more efficient and with higher quality, and transform power generation and distribution.
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