Mechanical Engineering graduate Tyson Lowe

Mechanical Engineering graduate Tyson Lowe joined Ventia's graduate program at the start of 2020. Over the two-year program, Ventia's graduates undertake three rotations - two in year one and a final 12-month rotation in their second year.

He has completed his two six-month rotations and is a few months into his year-long placement with our corporate drone solutions program. 

Tyson's first rotation in the maintenance team for Easternwell in Western Australia was followed by an assignment in our Water business in Sydney, delivering project management on a team delivering large periodic maintenance projects for our client.

He says he enjoys project management as he likes problem solving and it plays to his strengths, which include good communication skills. 

Those communication skills have also come in handy this year as he spreads the word across the organisation about our drone solutions program.

Mechanical Engineering graduate Tyson Lowe

Soaring to new heights in our drone solutions program

The program was established in 2017, and now has around 30 certified in-house pilots across Australia and New Zealand and a fleet of state-of-the-art drones.

The pilots come from a diverse array of backgrounds, and includes carpenters, engineering, accountants and environmental scientists. On average, the team fly missions each day to perform tasks in a safer, faster and more cost-effective way. 

Tyson says it's been an exciting few months as he has achieved his Remote Pilots License (RePL) and aeronautical radio operators certificate and has conducted two flights for Ventia contracts - in the Transport and Telco sectors. 

There are so many possible applications for drones across the industry.

"But primarily we're using drone technology for asset inspections, environmental monitoring, aerial mapping, open space mapping, thermal imaging and aerial photography and videography."

A current project Tyson is working on involves the tracking of a local Malleefowl population in South Australia. These ground-dwelling birds are apparently quite shy and rarely seen. 

They are present across 850 hectares of a client's site, and using LiDAR and thermal scanning, we can detect their mounds and get an indication of activity. 

"LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging and it's a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges," Tyson explains. "We use it where high accuracy mapping is required."

"The Mallee Fowl is listed as a vulnerable species, so our client is required to measure and track the population and put actions in place to reduce disruption to their habitat."

Tyson further explains that thermal scanning, which detects heat signatures, is used at night given there is a higher contrast between the cooler night air and the heat of the birds' bodies. 

Tyson says he decided on the drone program for his final rotation as it was a less traditional path for an engineer to take, and he was impressed with Chief Remote Pilot and program founder Gary Dring's passion and dedication to growing this program across Ventia. 

"This is a really multifaceted role," Tyson says. "I'll also be taking up the role of maintenance controller, which is part of our CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) requirements."

"This will involve undertaking a certified maintenance course so I can look after the drones and perform the required periodic servicing."

Mechanical Engineering graduate Tyson Lowe

Building cross functional networks

Ultimately, Tyson enjoys this role as it gives him a chance to meet more people across the business, build his networks and sell the benefits of the drone program.

I really think this has long-term career potential and that's a great outcome from a graduate placement!

Read more about Ventia's Drone Solutions Program here.

Read more about the Ventia Graduate Program here.