In Women’s Month, we feature Robyn, an agricultural engineer in our Pietermaritzburg office.
Robyn graduated as an Agricultural Engineer (Cum Laude) in 2013. She continued studying, obtaining an MScEng in the fields of hydrology and soil conservation. Robyn joined MBB Consulting Engineers (PMB) full-time in March 2016, having established a close relationship through many years of vacation work there. At MBB, Robyn has been involved in projects across a wide range of interests, including dam design, irrigation design and agricultural drainage projects. Further along the agricultural supply chain, Robyn has also been involved in the value-adding aspects of agriculture, such as produce packhouses, food-processing facilities, dairies and abattoirs. She also has a keen interest in water resources, getting involved in both the hydrological analysis and legislative aspects of these projects.
Working at MBB has allowed Robyn to develop a diverse range of skills, such as 3D CAD modelling, as well as project management, tender documentation, specifications and bills of quantities. The consulting working environment often allows engineers a chance to escape the office, visiting a variety of sites and meeting diverse clients. Days spent working in the outdoors are particularly rewarding and an opportunity to join a dam safety inspection or a construction site visit is never turned down.
Robyn spent several weeks in Tanzania last year, assessing drainage infrastructure on a large agricultural estate – a highlight of her career thus far. This was a particularly rewarding project including many weeks of demanding manual work, measuring structures in the field, together with detailed desktop modelling and creative thinking, for the overall improvement of the system. Being an agricultural project, all designs had to be environmentally responsible and economical, taking risk of failure, cost allowances and operational constraints into the final solution.
Robyn is particularly interested in the integration of new technologies with agriculture to improve efficiencies with limited resources. The future of food production lies in the hands of young agricultural scientists and engineers. This is an exciting time to be involved in agriculture!