23 June 2023

Stella Zolfaghar, Project Engineer at BMD (QLD)

At BMD, our business is our people, and we genuinely believe it is our family orientated culture that sets us apart and makes our business a great place to work. 

The inclusion of women in the construction and engineering industry is a key priority for our business. We’re committed to driving positive change by creating an inclusive environment that embraces equity and diversity and provides our people with the best opportunities to thrive. 

This International Women in Engineering Day provides a timely opportunity to celebrate BMD’s women in engineering and learn more about their career journey as we head towards our collective goal to bring more women into construction. 

As an engineer at BMD, my role is…

I’m a Project Engineer with BMD Construction in Queensland. As part of my role, I am required to administer and coordinate all design and construction activities on the projects I work on and monitor progress against the programme and budget. I first started with BMD as a Quality Engineer in April 2021 and have been in my current position since January 2022. 

What was your journey to becoming an engineer? 

I got both of my degrees – Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Masters in Geotechnical Engineering – back home in Iran. After graduating, I worked in Iran for about four years before making the big move to Australia where I have been ever since. I started working for BMD about couple of years ago in Perth on Tonkin Gap Alliance Project where I stayed for almost two years. When my husband got a job in Brisbane, I was able to stay with BMD and simply move projects to work with the team at the Centenary Bridge Upgrade project. 

Have you faced any unique challenges as a woman in engineering?

I chose to become an engineer as I have always wanted to challenge myself and construction appeared to be exactly what I was looking for. Planning from scratch, working towards developing, and building the work is challenging but rewarding. When you get to the completion you feel like you are part of it, and all the hard work pays off. Working in construction is my passion, but the hours can be long. 

In your experience, how does BMD support women in technical roles like engineering? 

BMD identifies the strength and positive qualities of women employees and supports them through instilling confidence, which is invaluable as a woman in a male-dominated industry. They also provide opportunities to grow. 

What do you do as part of your role to make working environments safer?

Daily site inspections are so important for ensuring the safety of everybody on the project. If I see a potential hazard, big or small, I make sure I raise it immediately. 

Do you have any advice for other women who are considering becoming an engineer? 

To all those who are thinking of starting a journey in construction, I would advise them to work within a team collaboratively and make sure you communicate effectively. In my experience, these are the two main factors critical for success. If you see something that you aren’t sure about or makes you uncomfortable, speak up! Even if your voice is shaky.

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