Engineering in the genes

01 Sep 2022

Many kids dream of following in their parents’ footsteps and that’s exactly what University of Waikato Engineering alumnus Quinn Porteous is on his way to achieving that dream.

Engineering alumnus Quinn Porteous.

Quinn is a recent graduate of a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) where he studied civil engineering.

Quinn, who attended Tauranga Boys’ College, has always been interested in engineering; this passion was originally sparked by his mum. As a young child, he watched his mum draft civil drawings for New Zealand councils and consultancies. On family road trips, multiple stops and detours were required to show off roads and bridges his mum had spent countless hours drawing.

“It has always been a bit of a family joke but I’m learning in my current work that it’s pretty special to be able to show people something that you have had a hand in creating, even if it’s just a small part.”

While attending Tauranga Boys’ College, Quinn focused on subjects that would give him a greater understanding of how things worked. His favourite subject was Design and Visual Communication where he was able to develop his ideas from concept to completion.

When considering his study options, Quinn says Waikato was a no brainer. Waikato had what he wanted to study, was close to home and provided the opportunity to study with a small cohort of students. “During my studies, I never felt like just a number.

“I remember in my final year walking around campus and being greeted by name by Rob Torrens, my very first lecturer. I hadn’t seen him in over three years but he knew exactly who I was.”

He says this familiarity was just one of the highlights of studying at Waikato.

Another highlight of his time at Waikato was the annual Engineering Design Show (EDS). The EDS is an opportunity for engineering students to showcase their work to the community and industry workers.

Quinn's concept design of the large-scale lab for the 2020 Engineering Design Show


In his third year, Quinn’s EDS project was focused on redesigning the Large-Scale Lab at the Hamilton campus. His team tasked him with bringing their design to life through AutoCAD and Google SketchUp. As a result, his team was awarded Excellence in Third Year Civil Design for their poster display.

As a part of the Engineering programme, students are required to complete two 400-hour internships to prepare for life after graduation. Quinn was lucky to complete both his internships at GHD (engineering consultancy).

During his internship, Quinn created process and instrumentation diagrams for the Whakatane water reservoirs. These P&ID’s will support future upgrades to the reservoir system. He says undertaking an internship was beneficial to understanding the practical applications of concepts he learnt in class.

Since completing his degree in 2021, Quinn continues to work for GHD as a Graduate Water Engineer. His role allows him to work on designing water management systems using technical skills and knowledge to ensure the safe delivery and removal of water within a city.

“Without my degree requiring me to complete an internship, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to gain real-world experience while studying. My internship helped me realised I was on the right path and led to me getting a graduate role with the same organisation.”

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