I joined the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Transportek research Division in 1988 as a qualified bursary student in Civil Engineering. I worked and trained under some well-known researchers like Dr Emile Horak, Dr Gerrit Jordaan, Dr Morris de Beer and Dr Chris van der Merwe in the field of Pavement and Materials Research with a leaning toward asphalt materials.
My research led me to work with SABITA on a number of projects from Cold In-situ Recycling, Heavy Duty Asphalt Pavements and modified binders in asphalt products. After 3 years of exposure in this field, I joined HHO Africa, then known as Hawkins Hawkins and Osborn to head up the Pavement Engineering Section in 1991 at a tender age of 28.
The Industry has a need to retain highly skilled and motivated practitioners in all fields from Government Sector, Private Sector and Academic Sectors. These were typically trained in the Government and Academic Sectors that received good funding from Government with many training and research programs. We need this ethic and drive to be revitalised and to regain some former glory. We need people to showcase Engineering to other people to be able to see beyond just business in this wildly money orientated and crazy virtual world.
One of the greatest opportunities in the present world is that of setting examples for all to follow. The Engineering Industry needs to continue to set good examples to all people of work ethic, morality and good will. When you have a good product such as transportation systems at your core, that should be a catalyst for good role modelling. I would like people to see the transportation industry with roads at the core as a destination rather than a stepping stone. I would like to replace many leaders with leaders of tangible skill and I believe the Engineering Industry has some of those potential leaders.
I have been blessed to have been involved in so many interesting and challenging transportation projects, which include the use of both bituminous products and cementitious products. There is the early research into bitumen emulsion stabilisation, modified bitumen binders and heavy duty asphalt and concrete pavement research at the CSIR, even leading to and contributing to some of the early SABITA guideline manuals such as GEMS, LAMBS and SAND ASPHALT.
I was intimately involved in one of the largest transportation projects in Africa, the Design and Construction of Gautrain between Sandton and ORTIA and Pretoria to Hatfield in Gauteng. I was intimately involved in the Bus Rapid Transit Systems in both Cape Town and Durban. I have been further blessed to help our company HHO Africa remain a home grown, home owned company and to look forward to coming to work each day with friends. My proudest achievement, however, is realising that I belong where I am.