Engineering’s Virtual Future


GANDEN Engineers and Project Managers are one of Australia’s leading water and wastewater consultancies. The Gold Coast based company assists their clients in design, procurement, commissioning and operation of water and wastewater assets.

In the last five years, GANDEN has completed over 220 projects and delivered designs on projects worth a combined capital value of several hundred million dollars. In 2017 alone, GANDEN’s designs accounted for a combined capital value of $130 million.

GANDEN is an industry leader in 3D design, paving the way for a new generation of engineering graduates. Darron Nutt is the Managing Director of the company and says that in the past attracting talented engineers has been a challenge, with most drawn to the bigger cities, but as GANDEN’s reputation grows that trend is starting to change.

“We’ve had a number of Griffith graduates on board in recent years and they’ve been fantastic. With graduates you can train them the way you want to suit your specific needs and because we’re not a large multinational company the beauty for the graduates is that they get access to very senior people. In my experience those kinds of opportunities rarely happen in larger engineering companies, but because of our smaller size we have to work collaboratively to deliver the outcomes required.”

With their interns GANDEN ensures that the students are very much involved in every facet of the company’s business, as Darron explains: “We attach them to existing projects and because of that it’s a great learning experience. Similarly, when graduates get out of uni they aren’t specialised in any particular aspect of the industry, so again with us being a smaller company graduates get wider exposure to all facets of the business and can then begin to get a feel for what area they want to specialise in much faster.”

Darron explains that there are benefits for not only the students, but his company as well. “We learn from them too. When I went to uni we never did auto CAD (computer-aided design) for instance, but these days the students are right across the latest engineering software programs and have excellent auto CAD skills.”



From 3D to VR

GANDEN does a lot of work in 3D design and Darron Nutt sees technology shaping not only the way engineering projects are designed and managed, but the careers available within the industry as well.

“Computers are so powerful now that some of the design tools available have an incredible level of detail involved to the point where it’s just like designing in real life. I can see new careers emerging within the industry because of those tech advances.

“These days we have engineers and designers. Once upon a time designers were called drafters where they basically sketched out a plan, but now they’re more like engineers on steroids. These guys not only have to be across all the standards and codes as engineers do, but they also have to be extremely proficient with the software they’re using. They’re very highly skilled – almost like animators in the way they design. I’ve no doubt that virtual reality is just a step away and they’ll all be designing in the VR world.”

*Photo: GANDEN’s Darron Nutt and Jasper Hennekens at the 2018 Gold Coast Business Awards.



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