Madsen Giersing’s Sam Madsen is the driving force behind the scenes of everything that happens within our organisation. From managing systems, quality and human resources to marketing support, Sam’s involvement is central to everything that we do. As a non-engineering professional, we caught up with Sam to learn a little more about her career, her love of engineering and how non-engineers can be valuable members of our industry.
How did you become part of the engineering and infrastructure industry?
Through my husband Lasse, CEO of Madsen Giersing and his wonderful parents. The opportunity unexpectantly arose for me to become part of the company. I am so grateful and enjoy so much working with the three of them. They are incredible people.
What do you love about working in engineering?
The way engineers’ and drafters’ brains work. It amazes me to watch Lasse’s brain work, from concept to design and then see the drafting team draft it up to turn it into a design ready for construction. It’s not something I can do; my brain doesn’t think that way! To be honest, I can’t even put an archive box together, so I really appreciate the way that engineers can take a problem, create a solution and then turn that solution into something that solves the problem
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on our new graduate program for engineers and draftspersons, and the fun stuff like arranging our end-of-year party and the Christmas hampers for our team and clients.
What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?
My Bachelor of Behavioural Science. School was not my bag; I was probably unlucky that many of the subjects the current generation gets to study were not available, so to go on and achieve a bachelor’s in a field I love and am passionate about was a real achievement.
What’s the best project you have worked on?
Not so much specific projects, but I look back on the work I have done that has enabled me to apply what I have learned and help a business to transform. For example, I coordinated programs and organisational psychology services and implemented systems and processes for a private sector clinical and organisational psychological firm and managed the banking finances and legal team for a recruitment firm. In both roles, I could positively apply my degree and support the organisation and people to adopt, embed and take to business-as-usual new systems and processes.
Now I get to do this for MG and work with my husband daily, which I am so grateful for.
What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned throughout your career?
Behind everyone’s title and desk is a human, just like you and I, who has struggles, dreams, strengths and vulnerabilities. And as such, I always approach everyone and every situation with loving kindness and, where appropriate, a sense of humour.
What would your last meal be?
Pink French champagne, my dad’s beef stroganoff with fresh green beans, and a ridiculous portion of chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream, followed by a block of Whittakers Hokey Pokey Chocolate and a glass of Tassie Pinot. If I have to go, I’m going out in style and with a massively unhealthy dose of calories, sugar and fizzy goodness!
What is the last movie you watched or series you binged?
Ticket to Paradise with Julia Roberts and George Clooney ticked all the boxes of what the world needs right now, love, laughter, and a happy ending. I am also enjoying My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman and just finished A Million Little Things and Bali 2002 on Stan.
Who do you admire in business?
It is such a cliché but Richard Branson. One of my sons has several learning challenges, and I see his struggles daily. But we are fortunate to live in a time where these are celebrated and accepted, and there is a lot of technologist assistance, help available and awareness. For Richard Branson to achieve what he has with dyslexia during a time when understanding and targeted education would not have been available is incredible and inspiring.
What excites you about the future of our industry?
I don’t know! Automation actually scares me a little. At the back of our minds, we always worry about the work we do being replaced by a machine. But then there are jobs that do not even exist yet that my sons will likely be involved in and new opportunities for reduced work, flexible work, safer work and for some, less mind-numbing or dangerous work that the machines are welcome to. What I am finding exciting about our industry is the move to the mindset of sustainability, upcycling, recycling and the environment being at the forefront of engineering now more so than ever. It is very exciting to see how we can use our collective knowledge to learn from past mistakes and build a bright future.
What would be your dream project to work on from history?
The Hoover Dam, Panama Canal, Millau Viaduct in France, and The Palm Island in Dubai. All of these feats of engineering amaze me. Their scale is incredible, and they should be applauded as monuments to our ability to think, problem-solve and engineer amazing structures to support people, create opportunities and enhance our lives.
What piece of advice would you give to a non-engineer looking to build a career in engineering?
Go for it! Supporting roles like mine and administration roles, help make up the whole team and work well. And engineers and drafters are some of the loveliest people I have ever met, it makes for a really lovely work environment.