02 Apr BPEQ 90th Anniversary: Celebrating Dan Houghton
In 2020, BPEQ turns 90. To celebrate this milestone BPEQ is acknowledging the achievements, projects, innovations, discoveries and stories of RPEQs past and present.
This month RPEQ Raul Barrera (Electrical, Mechanical, registered since 2008), talks about his experience as an electrical engineering working through the mining boom and the leadership examples set be fellow RPEQ Dan Houghton (Electrical, registered since 2013).
The [mining] boom (which I shall call the years 2005-2008) was hard to appreciate at the time, but with the benefit of some 15 year’s perspective and additional experience it really does stand out as a remarkable time for the engineering profession. I had the fortune to be involved in many extraordinary projects with many remarkable engineers and engineering leaders. What sets the leaders apart in my mind is not only their technical expertise and professional standards, but their ability to bring the best out of their people.
I joined Thiess Kentz Pty Ltd in 2006 for the Dawson Mine project. The company was part of the Thiess group and looked after the electrical aspects (‘vertical slice’) for their extraordinary series of large, successful EPC projects in Queensland during the boom years. Coal was king and companies went all out to maximise production by eliminating bottlenecks, expanding coal handling and preparation plants, and bringing new mines into production. For Thiess Kentz these projects were mainly in Central Queensland:
- Saraji CHPP Upgrade, Dec 04 – Dec 05
- Hail Creek Expansion, Dec 04 – Feb 06
- Dawson Alliance (Moura Mine CHPP Upgrade), July 05 – Sept 07
- Lake Lindsay Alliance (German Creek CHPP Upgrade), Sept 06 – Oct 08
- Lake Vermont Coal Mine Infrastructure (greenfields), Jan 08 – Oct 08
“I had the fortune to be involved in many extraordinary projects with many remarkable engineers and engineering leaders.”
As mining wound down with the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, Queensland’s mammoth public infrastructure projects took up the slack, including the Western Corridor scheme to strengthen South-East Queensland’s water grid in the face of severe drought conditions, where the Thiess Degremont joint venture designed and built the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant (June 07 – June 08) in record time.
The project was ranked number one in Engineers Australia’s ‘Engineering Wonders of Queensland’ publication in 2009. As a founding partner of Voltex Power Engineers, I moved onto the landmark Airport Link Tunnel and Northern Busway project (July 08 – July 12).
Thiess Kentz’s Engineering Coordinator at the time was a local Queensland product, Dan Houghton. In addition to prime engineering responsibility on some of these projects (Saraji & Bundamba), Dan built the engineering team, filled all sorts of gaps in all the projects, and was a key link between designers, constructors and field engineers. Dan had a way of working with people that earned him great respect and brought the very best out of us all. He led by example – working diligently, to an uncompromising professional standard and accepting nothing less from others. He saw and respected engineers as people and professionals, when many seemed to think we were problems! He appreciated and used our strengths and understood and managed our weaknesses.
Dan has contributed to the development of the engineering profession and the state of Queensland through his constructive contributions in numerous significant projects.
This year is a celebration of the achievements, projects, innovations, discoveries and stories of RPEQs past and present. BPEQ encourages RPEQs to share their thoughts –
• What are some of Queensland’s great engineering feats?
• Who was the RPEQ/s who helped deliver the project?
• Are there unsung heroes in the profession?
To have your say contact BPEQ at firstname.lastname@example.org.