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By the bubbler with Thomas Wager

Thomas Wager is a water engineer at AECOM Rockhampton, and has recently stepped into the role of Team Lead — Water Infrastructure. With a strong background in local government he has delivered projects across their full lifecycle throughout Central and North Queensland.

What drew you into the water industry?

Early in my undergraduate studies, I wanted to be a structural engineer; however, after completing a few subjects focused around the water industry, I found that it just clicked. I was particularly drawn to the breadth of different problems and facets of engineering that make up our little part of the world, the ability to develop deeper technical understandings of how things work, and where there could be opportunities to do something better.

Who or what do you draw inspiration from?

Through my career I have been fortunate to have had access to a number of great mentors and role models, particularly within AECOM. These people have helped drive my thirst for not just technical understanding, but also in supporting our team members with positive work-life balance.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I recently got into vinyl record collecting, which can be surprisingly difficult in Rockhampton! When I can find the time I also enjoy gaming; I’m currently excited for the release of Baldurs Gate 3 after a 20-year wait.

If you were a breed of dog, which would you be and why?

I think I would probably be an Airedale Terrier: generally pretty easy to get along with and driven; however, I can be a little too stubborn for my own good on some things. They’re also a bit scruffy with the curly hair, which is unfortunately the default trait of my own!

What do you believe is currently the greatest challenge for your part of the water industry?

I believe the greatest challenge will be how we, as an industry, achieve sustainable outcomes for the community. The reliability of water supply and the ongoing impacts of climate change on the historic water cycles. It has been great to see the establishment of the National Water Grid Authority to assist the states and it will be an exciting time to see how this greater accessibility to funding will further develop our industry over the coming years.

How do you consider your organisation benefits most by being a corporate member of the Australian Water Association?

Membership of the AWA provides exposure to technical innovation and development across our industry, and the opportunity for individuals to actively contribute to the industry as whole.

What messages would you like to give to your colleagues in the Queensland water sector?

Over the coming years, as the full impacts from the pandemic become known, economically and environmentally sustainable investment will be critical to the state’s recovery and longevity, which means it’s an exciting time to be working in the regions!