Meet Mitch Lees. Mitch joined Aurizon 10 years ago, and has enjoyed a diverse career with the Company from a student engineer to District Civil Engineer, working across regional Queensland.
In 2007, I joined Aurizon as a student engineer while completing a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Central Queensland University, working for the Company between semesters.
On completion of my degree in 2012, I joined Aurizon’s Graduate Development Program and have been privileged to work as a Civil Engineer across Aurizon’s rail design, asset management, construction and maintenance teams - gaining well-rounded engineering experience throughout all of Aurizon’s rail asset lifecycle stages.
The Program was instrumental in launching my career as an engineer and in pursuing a career with Aurizon. It enabled me to rotate through different parts of the business over a three year period, providing a valuable insight to the different types of engineering roles and careers available within the Company.
It was during my time on the Program, that I developed a strong passion for railway engineering. In particular, I developed an interest and experience in railway track stability to prevent track buckles and train derailments. This has allowed me to coach others in the railway industry to make our tracks safer.
The experience and passion that I developed for the rail industry, and the opportunities that Aurizon provides as the owner and operator of one of the world’s largest coal rail networks, encouraged me to progress my career with the Company.
With the large geographical spread of Aurizon’s business across Australia, I have been fortunate to work from a range of locations including Townsville, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Mackay, both as a student and as a professional engineer.
Having the opportunity to work in regional Queensland has enabled me to develop both professionally and personally. It has given me exposure to a diverse range of work and projects, and along the way, I’ve had the opportunity to undertake secondments into leadership roles across the business functions. I am also able to work in close proximity to my extended family.
For the last four years, I’ve been based in Mackay working in Aurizon’s Civil Asset Management and Engineering team. As the District Civil Engineer, my role is to manage civil infrastructure to ensure Aurizon’s Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN) is operationally reliable, fit for purpose and sustainable in order to move trains for our customers. One of the advantages of being based in Mackay, is that you are located close to the asset and a short drive away from all the action.
I enjoy the flexibility of working on site and in the office as part of my role. I have also enjoyed being part of a highly motivated team and working in an environment where people work together towards a common goal; and are supportive, ambitious and encourage you to keep learning.
One of the most rewarding experiences during my time with Aurizon was being part of the Cyclone Debbie recovery efforts. The Cyclone resulted in major infrastructure damage to the rail network. I worked as part of the civil engineering team responsible for assessing the damage and supporting the development of engineering designs and recovery efforts to safely and efficiently get our customers’ train services back on track.
This is just a snapshot of the diverse and rewarding work that I am proud to have played a key role in since kick starting my career with Aurizon’s Graduate Development Program.