Find out what a Deputy Maintenance Flight Commander in No. 6 Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force loves about his job.

I describe my role to non-engineers as… leading a system of teams that fix aircraft and conduct aviation operations.

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Photo: New Zealand Defence Force

The part of my job that always surprises people is… that there is more airworthiness compliance, technical and staff management than engineering design. It is natural to assume all engineering officers are specialist aircraft design engineers.

The best emoji to sum up me on a typical workday is…

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The best thing I’ve introduced in my role is… I try to understand what the unit and team needs are, whether it is safety, workflow systems, morale or welfare, and do my best to introduce solutions that work.

In my role, I always challenge… my personnel to explore solutions rather than getting caught up on the problem.

At work, I’ve never been afraid to… make the right decision, and offer praise and development feedback when due.

In the past year, I’ve pushed boundaries by… exploring more ways to stretch my capacity in order to futher learn and develop.

I admire engineers who… can very clearly articulate their thoughts and intent, both verbally and in writing.

At school, teachers always described me as… honestly, I can’t remember, but I would assume it was hardworking and dedicated!

My luckiest break was… not sure if I’ve had a lucky break, but I believe you create your own fortune/luck.

The bravest thing I’ve done to get where I am today… continued to work at my craft by taking risks to develop and grow. You have to put yourself out there.

Best career advice I’ve received…

  • There are no hard decisions – there are only right and wrong decisions.
  • Be authentic – you are the only version of you. As a leader, authenticity builds trust.
  • Make the most of every opportunity presented – you never know where it may lead you to.

I’d advise other people interested in my type of role to… commit. It’s one of the most diverse, sometimes complex, but very fulfilling roles I’ve done!

3 things I love about my job:

  • The diversity of the role. No. 6 Squadron is the RNZAF's and Royal New Zealand Navy’s naval aviation capability, operating in the maritime environment either from the back of ships or from ashore. This environment brings an exciting and dynamic aspect to the role of an engineer. The operational elements test your agility, critical thinking, leadership, management and communication skills.
  • People. Our team of around 70 technicians of different trades are all working towards a common goal. Whether it’s training outcomes, humanitarian relief or operations, it’s the team, their attitudes and professionalism that make it all happen.
  • Service to New Zealand. Contributing to our community, the security and national interests of New Zealand has always been a driver for me. I come from a background of those who have served and I consider this history part of my whakapapa.

2 reasons why I chose engineering:

  • Problem solving. I’m solutions-focused and I've always enjoyed doing things with my hands. I gravitated initially to a role as an aircraft technician where it was very hands on.
  • Diversity of roles. A lot of the skills gained in the different roles available in the RNZAF are transferable to other engineering streams, both internally and externally.

1 thing I wouldn’t change about my workday:

  • The tempo.