People of MECHA: Alma Ormsby

Tell us a bit about yourself as a person

I grew up on farms where I learnt to work really hard. This trait is what kept me through university. Besides study I worked 30 hours a week at University and a fabrication company to gain experience. I valued the experience to the detriment of my academic results. In hindsight, I think I was better off with the experience however I knew I could have gotten better results. I chose mechanical engineering to learn all the fundamentals on how to design a machine from start to finish. This includes CAD, materials, mechanics, thermodynamics, to manufacturing.

What was your biggest challenge looking for a grad role while in your last year of University? And how did you overcome it? I applied for 10 graduate roles and got three interviews and three offers. I thought initially that this hit rate was disappointing, however after talking with everyone I found it to be higher than most others. In hindsight I would have applied for more roles and I wouldn’t have been as disheartened.

What is a typical day like at NZ Steel? What do you enjoy the most about working there?

I’m working in one of the critical areas of NZS which means there’s a lot going on. I enjoy having a variety of work from maintenance to reliability engineering but most especially 3D modelling and design. It’s satisfying seeing your design be manufactured and put into action.

A typical day includes a lot of talking with people. This includes getting advice from engineers, suppliers, trades and operations. Other than working on projects, I head into the plant often and have plenty of meetings.

What do you think is the most important soft skill students should pick up outside of academics?

Pick up a sport or hobby that involves other people. Getting along with people is essential.

If you get to go back to your final year of University, how would you spend the time differently than before?

I took the advice of previous students and lived it up, so no regrets. It was challenging yet fun, my motto was “work hard play hard”.

Let’s say 2021 is the year of a zombie apocalypse, what would you be able to offer as an engineer?

I would be able to make steel which at some point will be an extremely valuable product.