Interview With Hannah George, Engineer, Information Communications and Technology
Hannah George is a project manager who specializes in information and communications technology (ICT) and security. She joined Tetra Tech in 2012 and applies her 17 years of experience to high performance buildings for health, education, office, and retail. Hannah earned a Bachelors of Engineering with honors in Automation and Control from Massey University and a Post Graduate Diploma of Business Administration in Finance from Massey University. We spoke with Hannah as part of our #INWED19 campaign to not only celebrate our brilliant women engineers but also to raise their profiles to encourage those who aspire to become engineers and to work in STEM. Follow #WomenInSTEM on social media for more stories.
What do you like about working at Tetra Tech?
I am passionate about Tetra Tech and what we do, but more than that, I love the people I work with. I work in a specialist team that defines and designs the technology that drives Tetra Tech’s high performance buildings. Everyone in my team is committed, supportive, clever, and fun to work with. I’ve worked in our London office and I am now based in Perth, Australia. I know people in almost every office in my group, and I genuinely feel like I am part of a family here.
What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
Up until my final years of high school, my idea for my future was to be a lawyer, reflecting a youthful social conscious. It slowly dawned on me that not everyone found math easy and that I enjoyed science as well as the English studies, so my teachers pointed me toward science and technology at a local university. I attended open days and even a physics camp with line dancing lecturers, centrifuges, and gun shells—I was hooked!
What are the greatest qualities you may find in a female engineer?
Female engineers are intelligent, brave, and tenacious. Engineering is not an easy option for anyone. But without exception, all women in engineering have had to justify their presence at some time. Whether it is being one of a handful of girls in a lecture or the only person using the ladies’ tee, female engineers are always working for a seat at the table. I find that many female engineers have good people skills, emotional intelligence, empathy, and can create a more constructive work environment. However, these qualities are not always expressly valued, at least early in one’s career. For myself, I was slow to see these positive qualities and how they can be of benefit in my work. I would encourage all female engineers—nay, all engineers—to be authentic and true to themselves, as we can all benefit from diverse thinking and skills.
What do you look forward to in the years to come in the engineering field?
There is a huge amount of potential in the building space to improve how buildings operate and respond to their human occupants. In a world of scarce resources, extreme weather changes, and struggling to find productivity gains, we have the opportunity and obligation to do better. The coming years will see a significant uptake of technology in the building space, born out of a perfect storm of necessity, availability, and acceptance. I look forward to working with Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group to normalize technology for our clients and building occupants.
What projects are you most proud of?
In my accumulated years, there are too many projects I am proud of to list! Early in my career, I spent my time “on the tools” working in hospitals, office buildings, and correctional facilities–even once installing and commissioning a microwave detection system around a low security unit during lockdown, which is when the prisoners were in their cells. Moving to London, I worked on iconic projects including the security system service plan for the London Olympic Park and a large shopping center in Stratford City, working alongside Cisco and other technology partners. In my new home, Perth, Australia, I see buildings across the skyline I have worked on, but the project that I am most proud of is the Perth Children’s Hospital project, which is a fantastic facility for the families of Western Australia.