Environmental engineer | Youth Central

Liza, 28

As a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, Australia has agreed to meet greenhouse gas emission targets. Liza advises organisations on how to reduce their contributions to greenhouse gases.

Fact file

Job description: Provides advice and engineering services to industry and government in the area of energy, greenhouse and environmental management.

Subjects studied: Mathematics A and B, Physics, Chemistry and English.

Further training: Liza completed her Honours Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne (4 years); and a Graduate Diploma in Energy and Resources Law at the University of Melbourne (2 years part-time).

Salary:  $70,000+ per year.


Being seconded as a consultant to an oil company was a great experience for Liza Maimone and it reinforced her feeling that, working as a consultant, she was in the right job.

"I don't like doing the same thing all the time. The fact that I have exposure to a number of organisations and industries is what I really like about my work," says Liza, an environmental consultant with Egis Consulting Australia.

The secondment with the oil company is where Liza started developing her skills in the greenhouse area.

"The project I was working on was to develop a greenhouse emissions database for the company's Australian operations downstream - distribution of petroleum products and retail.

"It is the ideal way for a consultant to work, you become involved in that organisation's culture and you get to understand what they need rather than doing it remotely."

While today, Liza leads a team of engineers and scientists, she still manages projects and gets involved with field work herself.

"The focus of my work is providing advice and services to clients in the area of energy management, greenhouse gas emissions assessment and general environmental management."

Her clients come in all sizes, from large multinational organisations through to small and medium-sized manufacturing firms. She also works with State and Federal government departments.

After graduating with an honours degree in chemical engineering, Liza undertook a graduate diploma in energy and resources law, and has plans for further study in the area of commerce.

Her work has also led to travel in exotic locations. In one case, a petroleum company with operations in Thailand was looking to expand its operations in northern Thailand. Liza was part of a team appointed to assess the environmental impact of the proposed expansion.

This involved site inspections, gathering data, talking to the company's processing people and preparing a report on the environmental impact of the proposed expansion.

Her current projects include preparing emission inventories, carrying out environmental audits, and reviewing specific facilities to identify where environmental improvements can be made.

"Within the firm, my work in the greenhouse services area is unique. This area has been growing steadily over the past few years, based on project work already completed with multinational organisations."

Liza's management skills are not only applied to projects, she must also manage people and play her part in the broader administration of the company. All of which means that for Liza, communication is an important skill. She has to get her message across, often in formal presentations.

Public speaking

As a member of the Young Engineers committee for the Institution of Engineers, she frequently speaks to school and university students about her work. She also lectures on environmental engineering and consulting.

Job specs

Environmental engineers are concerned with assessing and managing the effects of human and other activity on the natural and built environment. They apply their engineering knowledge and skills to such things as environmental impact assessment, natural resources management and pollution control.


Environmental engineers may perform the following tasks:

  • Research and develop new technologies and techniques to improve the environmental acceptability of engineering projects
  • Evaluate environmental and social impacts of engineering projects in association with the public, scientists and other engineers
  • Design and operate processes to treat wastes to a standard acceptable for discharge and/or recycling, e.g. waste water treatment or waste solidification
  • Work with occupational health experts to ensure a hazard-free working environment
  • Prepare reports and studies on the best approach to environmental management in new and existing engineering projects, taking into account environmentally sustainable economic activity and legal, environmental and industrial factors
  • Effectively communicate relevant issues to other technical staff, managers, regulatory authorities, public interest groups and the public

Personal requirements

  • Enjoy technical and engineering activities
  • Willing to adhere to safety requirements
  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Enjoy computing and technical design
  • Practical and creative
  • Able to accept responsibility

Getting started

Find out more about a career in environmental engineering:

Consult Australia
(Industry association for consulting companies in the built environment sector)
Tel: 0423 215 149
Email: vic@consultaustralia.com.au

Engineers Australia (Victoria Division)
21 Bedford St North Melbourne, VIC 3051
Tel: (03) 9329 8188
Email: vic@engineersaustralia.org.au

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).