“I love coming to work every day…It’s a fun and supportive culture, people are curious and interested, and there’s a lot of banter. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bit quirky or don’t fit a certain ‘type’; you’ll still be valued by everyone for your contribution.”

Engineer and bestselling fiction author might seem an unlikely combination, but Charlotte Nash-Stewart is both. She’s also a parent, an academic tutor, has a medical degree, belongs to a women in engineering council… the list is endless. Charlotte’s unique skillset and breadth of experience converge in her role as Senior Engineer. What keeps this talented yet humble professional at FIELD Engineers? Charlotte says it’s the ability to get hands-on, have fun and innovate with a team that empowers her to achieve her goals.

A perfectly ‘oddball’ skillset

Think you know how to spot an Engineer? Think again.

Charlotte Nash-Stewart blows any stereotypes about what it takes to be an Engineer right out of the water.

An author of seven novels, Charlotte’s first book was a rural romance set in a small-town medical practice. Drawing from her experiences as a medical student, the book was the 6th highest-selling debut novel in Australia in 2013, sparking her international success as a novelist with published works spanning romance, sci-fi and fantasy.

It may seem a world away from engineering, but Charlotte’s creativity as an author has served her well at FIELD Engineers. It was vital to her previous dual role as a Consulting Engineer and Technical Writer. In this unique position, she specialised in cranes – including major inspections, incident investigations and design reviews. She also created our training courses, manuals and other technical documentation.

“I tend to do anything that’s a bit oddball,” Charlotte says. “I get involved in cross-disciplinary projects, which fits quite well with my skillset. I have a very unconventional work and education history.”

And today, Charlotte’s out-of-the-box thinking and analytical skills enable her to innovate and problem solve for various challenging and complex projects as a Senior Engineer.

“I never expected to end up in a career using all the skills I have weirdly acquired over time. As engineers, we often need to make decisions and solve problems in spaces where there are no established solutions, which means we have to break new ground. It certainly makes things interesting!”

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An unconventional path

Charlotte’s journey to FIELD Engineers is a real-life page-turner, full of twists and turns – and one plucky protagonist.

At high school, Charlotte’s subjects were the unusual combination of maths, physics, chemistry, ancient history and English. After completing her bachelor’s degree in mechanical and space engineering, Charlotte flipped the script and jumped straight into a Bachelor of Medicine.

However, Charlotte soon realised medicine wasn’t for her, and after graduating in 2006, she did a 180-degree turn and began her engineering career. Following roles in research and safety engineering, Charlotte again changed tack and became a freelance Technical Writer in 2010.

During her 12 years as a freelancer, her “other” career as a novelist blossomed. She also achieved her PhD in creative writing, taught writing and editing at university, and welcomed her son into the world.

Charlotte wasn’t actively looking for another role, but an opportunity at FIELD Engineers piqued her interest.

“It was one of two job ads I’ve read in my life where it seemed it was written by a human being, and I thought, ‘I want to work there.’ It wasn’t my intention to go down this path, but here I am – it’s one of those interesting turns life takes.”

Since joining our team in 2019, Charlotte has been involved in some fascinating projects, including the design and review inspection of a crane specifically designed for wind turbine maintenance – the first of its kind to be imported to Australia.

“To do conventional maintenance on a wind turbine, you need a massive mobile crane, and you often have to get it to remote areas. This specialised crane actually comes on the back of a semi-trailer in one container. It climbs up the tower and mounts on top of the turbine. This crane has been operating in Europe and the United States for a few years, but we’d never had one in Australia before. I reviewed the design against Australian design standards and went to the site to functionally inspect it. That was a really interesting project.”

A supportive team of real people

With so many personal and professional pursuits, Charlotte’s life is certainly full. She has her sights set on another book project – a romantic comedy with an intriguing scientific twist. She’s also a member of The University of Queensland’s Women in Engineering Alumni Ambassador Council. And when she’s not busy chasing after her young son, she’s teaching writing at university.

Juggling so many priorities is a constant challenge, yet Charlotte’s grateful for the support she has at FIELD to live and work in a way that fulfils her creative and analytical mind.

“One thing that’s very pleasantly surprised me about FIELD is that every aspect of me is accepted. I don’t have to sideline anything or pretend I don’t also do other things. It’s a very supportive environment.”

And if you’d like to build an engineering career with plenty of opportunities to get hands-on, learn and grow? Charlotte says a role at FIELD could be your rewarding next chapter.

“I love coming to work every day. For me, that’s a combination of the work and the people. It’s a fun and supportive culture, people are curious and interested, and there’s a lot of banter. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bit quirky or don’t fit a certain ‘type’; you’ll still be valued by everyone for your contribution.”

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