Jo Fisher CPEng, Director, Howarth Fisher and Associates
Jo Fisher’s geography studies — and her career — took a different turn when she was introduced to engineering.
Jo Fisher had not intended to be an engineer. She was studying geography in the UK, when she was offered a scholarship to study traffic engineering as a master’s degree. “The university specifically wanted geographers as well as civil engineers to undertake the course,” she tells create.
“You think more laterally if you’ve come from a different discipline.”
Today, Fisher jointly runs Howarth Fisher and Associates, the Hobart engineering consultancy that she co-founded in 2006. She believes her geography background still informs her engineering work, however.
“The transport planning perspective of integrating land use and traffic in its entirety is relevant,” she reflects. “Looking at complex development sites and trying to achieve design which maximises and makes most efficient use of land space and road and intersection designs is critical to their success.”
Her business today covers civil, structural and transport engineering and encompasses everything from traffic impact assessments to assessing road network safety and integrating transport linkages.
Developing Wilkinsons Point
“One of the projects we’re working on at the moment is Wilkinsons Point, which is an area of land which is being developed in the north of Hobart for mainly sports-based land uses,” she says.
“It’s located on a site which is very difficult to get in and out of from the arterial road network — it’s basically saturated in the peak periods.
“[We’re] modelling and coming up with solutions to get not only vehicular flows but also ferries and other sustainable transport modes to the site in an integrated development master plan. We are then designing the road network to cater for buses, pedestrians, cyclists, as well as achieving sufficient parking to meet the demand.”
Jo’s three tips for success
- There is value in specialising in one area rather than seeking to become a generalist.
- Develop the ability to work in big project teams.
- You can benefit from concentrating on doing one aspect of engineering really well; it gives you a point of difference.
The power of Chartered Engineer status
Fisher describes the work as innovative and challenging, adding that running a small business has extended her capabilities. Something that has helped in that regard is having been accredited as a Chartered engineer.
“For people to know that you have met the criteria for Chartered status is important, and for your clients to know that is important,” Fisher says.
Another incentive, she points out, is the increasingly common requirement for projects to be signed off by engineers with Chartered credentials.
“Our firm believes strongly in the value of this Chartered status and guarantees our autonomy and integrity with project delivery,” Fisher says.
To find out more about Chartered engineer status, head over to Engineers Australia.
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