What is your job?
Industrial electronics. I do lots of things really. I have invented and designed a solar-powered skylight. It’s a big flat light connected to a solar panel. It looks just like a skylight, but it doesn’t have all the problems that real skylights have. No structural issues, no heat loss, no leakage. It connects to a conventional solar panel on the roof. If it’s not connected to the grid, it’s like a skylight and only works during the day, but if it is connected you can use it like an ordinary light. My basic trade is as an electrician, but I’ve done a lot of exotic stuff like making silicon chips and semiconductor manufacturing. At the moment I’m working at Howman’s Gap on their sewage control system, helping them manage their incoming and outgoing water.
Is it something you always wanted to do?
Yes. I grew up in Rosanna and was unceremoni- ously dumped from school because I couldn’t do maths. I got an electrical apprenticeship and was electrical apprentice of the year for three years, and apprentice of the year in all trades at Preston Technical College in 1977. I was given a scholarship from the Victorian Employers’ Federation. I got a job and travel for two years to South Africa. I was offered some amazing opportunities there. One was a maintenance technician in a semiconductor manufacturing plant in Pretoria. That was a dream job because the microprocessor had just been invented and I was learning about programming for industrial applications. I couldn’t believe it. I was there for six years, but came back because I had a moral obligation to share the expertise. That sort of job didn’t exist in Australia but I got a job doing a similar sort of thing. For about six years I worked for an entrepreneur designing animated LED for advertising signage and poker machines and similar things. I also worked making solar concentrators for a couple of years.
How do you come to be in the Valley?
My family are really outdoor people. We love skiing and our two daughters got invited to join the Victorian Junior Development Squad in cross-country skiing. My wife was fed up with her job so here we are. Here, I am making my solar skylights and doing general electrical work and the occasional odd job. We love the friendliness and the sense of community here.
What do you love about the job?
The challenge I guess. I’m always inspired by high-tech stuff. I love to learn new things and I love to sharpen my skills.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like outdoorsy things. I used to sail a lot. We are going to sail the Gippsland Lakes soon getting ready for the Whitsundays next year. I ski a bit. I went in the Birkie this year – it nearly killed me. My wife and I helped to set up the Mt Beauty Parkrun and we run in it regularly.