An engineer abroad

Nicola Coyle

Civil Engineer, Ryan Diercke, joined Northrop two and a half years ago, and has been forging a career in the civil section of our Newcastle office. It may surprise you to learn that for the past nine months Ryan has been living in London, United Kingdom, where he continues to work for our office remotely.

Workplace flexibility is certainly a major plus for Ryan, who also values the supportive attitude Northrop shows towards its employees and their professional and personal goals. “If you are willing, and keen to lead the direction of your career, Northrop will certainly listen and support you,” he says. “By understanding and incorporating a work-life balance, I believe employees at Northrop are happier, more focused, and have increased motivation on a day-to-day basis.”

Although based in London, it’s 'business as usual' for Ryan, as he is kept busy changing roles and tasks on a variety of projects - from storm-water design to 3D modelling. Maintaining efficient communication and management of projects with colleagues in Australia is also an important task. “Due to the time difference, projects arrive as I am waking while everyone in Australia is going home, so it appears that I am up working all night, every night!"  He says.

Ryan primarily enjoys the construction phase of the civil engineering industry, and that is where he’s gained the most exposure. “We work in a fast-paced environment with constant changes and challenges.  We meet with many interesting people from various backgrounds, and we’re able to see our designs come to life,” he says. He cites the V8 Circuit as the most impressive project he is working on in Newcastle, but he’s equally proud to have contributed to the restoration and development of Blackbutt Reserve wildlife sanctuary. “It’s always great to take overseas friends or family there to visit, and to know you’ve contributed to the development of a valuable community project,” he explains.

Ryan’s interest in engineering stems from a longstanding appreciation of science and discovering “how things work”. He notes that Astronomer, Carl Sagan was a particularly positive influence in his career choice. “Carl has a great mind, and inspired me to follow the sciences in order to appreciate our planet better by respecting the laws of physics. He made science and maths meaningful to me, and encouraged me to pursue engineering for reasons other than just making a dollar,” says Ryan. “The more we understand, the more we appreciate our natural environment and how our industry can promote sustainable/greener developments and environmentally conscious designs.”

Over the next two years, Ryan hopes to broaden his industry experience with involvement in structural or geotechnical projects. He also seeks to gain his chartered (professional) engineering status, allowing him to be in a position to encourage and support younger engineers.   Further down the line, he’d like to lead a small team managing larger projects and experience greater client involvement, and hopefully  one day be involved in the future business development of Northrop.

“My greatest accomplishment this year has been moving halfway across the world to support my partner’s career, while still maintaining an enjoyable and productive working lifestyle with Northrop,” says Ryan. “It is certainly an achievement that both myself and my fellow employees/managers should be proud of, and I thank them for their ongoing support.”

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