“Some of the messiest jobs are ones I’ve done with Jon Halliday, one of our Directors. For one job, we had to get inside and measure the rack on a dragline, and army crawl through grease and dirt to check the gearing. You don’t get many places where the Director gets stuck in like that!”

Freshly graduated from university, Matt Pichlis was eager to launch his engineering career the right way. That meant finding a friendly, experienced team that offered interesting work, real opportunities for growth and a healthy dose of fun. He discovered that and so much more at FIELD Engineers. Find out how Matt went from Graduate to Senior Engineer with our Mackay Consulting team – and even added “drone pilot” to his CV!

Shoulder to shoulder

There aren’t too many organisations where the senior leaders roll up their sleeves and get stuck in right beside their people. But that’s exactly what Matt Pichlis has seen time and again at FIELD Engineers.

As a Senior Engineer, Matt likes to go on-site and get his hands a little dirty – and since joining us in 2017, he’s had plenty of opportunities to do just that.

“Some of the messiest jobs are ones I’ve done with Jon Halliday, one of our Directors,” Matt says. “For one job, we had to measure the rack on a dragline, which is a big ring gear about 10m in diameter. Because it’s a big gear driven by a number of pinions, it’s pumped full of grease to keep everything lubricated. We had to get inside and army crawl through grease and dirt to check the circumference and alignment of the gearing. You don’t get many places where the Director gets stuck in like that!”

Matt says that’s just one example of our down-to-earth, supportive team culture. And it’s what’s motivated him to build his rewarding career at FIELD.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Matt had been working at a power station near Toowoomba, weighing up his options. He wanted to join a team that offered variety, challenge and a welcoming culture. After a chat with our General Manager, David Hartigan, Matt decided FIELD was the perfect place to kickstart his career, and we welcomed him aboard as a Graduate Engineer in 2017.

He soon stepped up to Consulting Engineer, and in 2023, was promoted to Senior Engineer.

“I’ve been exposed to such a range of work – from analytical, design-type work to getting hands-on on-site. We probably get a bit dirtier than a lot of other engineers – but that’s what makes it interesting! FIELD has really supported my development. They look after their people.”

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Incredible challenges and opportunities

As a Senior Engineer with our Mackay Consulting team, Matt’s projects are as diverse as they are interesting. One day, he could be conducting a structural inspection of a dragline, collecting measurements and data via laser metrology or strain gauging. The next, he could be in the office, working on design and analysis.

Relishing the mix of office and site-based work, Matt’s projects usually take him to major mining operations in the Bowen Basin, but he’s also travelled as far afield as remote Western Australia.

“Every day is different. It can be challenging, but there’s always support. Everyone is approachable and willing to help when you ask for it.”

Matt’s seized every opportunity to learn and grow at FIELD – and has even trained to become a remote drone pilot.

“We’d been discussing better ways of doing dragline inspections, and one theory was to use a drone instead of an EWP (elevated work platform) or man basket to get underneath the boom. I put my hand up, and FIELD paid for my training.”

Since gaining his drone pilot certification, Matt’s been able to safely and efficiently inspect draglines, bridges and even a collapsed cooling tower at a power station.

“There was a 30m exclusion around the tower because they were worried about further collapses. So, we flew a drone around to see exactly where the failure had occurred and to get an idea of whether the structure would be safe for someone to go in and have a closer look. That was pretty cool.”

Laidback lifestyle, remarkable future

Having grown up in the country town of Nanango, Matt feels right at home in the relaxed regional city of Mackay. Perched on the Coral Coast, Mackay is an outdoor enthusiast’s delight, so Matt loves to spend his weekends mountain biking, hiking and camping.

Matt also enjoys the social side of FIELD Engineers, where our people are encouraged to achieve and have fun while doing it.

“We have a Christmas party every year, which is a whole lot of fun, and a mid-year barbecue. We also get involved in community events. In 2023, I did a mountain bike race at Eungella with one of the guys, and about 20 of us took part in a corporate fun run.”

Matt’s already grown in leaps and bounds at FIELD. His next step? Attaining Charter Status with Engineers Australia.

“I’m already on the way to getting there, and FIELD has encouraged and supported me.”

Are you interested in building an engineering career with a team that supports you to stretch, strive and succeed? Matt says you’ll get that and so much more at FIELD Engineers.

“It’s definitely a great place to develop and learn new skills. We have a lot of experienced leaders and people here who are approachable and willing to share their knowledge and expertise.”

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