We talked to Erin Thomas, Vice President of the AITPM Queensland Branch
I am a passionate about transport, connecting communities, and diversity and inclusion. Over the last 16 years I have worked as a drafter, engineer, project manager and consultant, specialising in traffic engineering and transport modelling. I enjoy leading teams to achieve project goals by developing strong relationships between clients and stakeholders.
My qualifications include Bachelor of Civil Engineering, Master of Engineering (Transport modelling), RPEQ, CPEng, NER, and Traffic Management Designer. I am also an AITPM Fellow.
What is your current role?
Lead Consultant and Line Manager within the Integrated Transport & Mobility Queensland team at Aurecon. I lead and deliver transport planning, engineering, and modelling projects throughout Queensland and nationally.
What first attracted you to get involved in the transport industry?
I was told that ‘girls don’t do engineering’ at high school, and I said, ‘Challenge Accepted’. My focus on transport was driven by my interest how access to good quality transport options can have such an impact on people’s day to day quality of life.
Could you explain some key opportunities in your career and how they contributed to your development?
I have had several great mentors throughout my career, particularly early on and I really appreciate the time that they took with a young professional to teach me how to transfer my technical skills into consulting skills.
Working at both large corporations and boutique consultancies gave me the opportunity to dive into different aspects of project life cycle, from an idea on the back of envelope all the way to construction. This has been key to developing relationships with clients and understanding the drivers behind projects.
Becoming a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) also provided many opportunities to step into project leadership roles.
What has been involvement with AITPM to date?
I have been a member of the Queensland Committee since July 2018 and I am currently Vice President. In 2020 and 2021 I was convenor for the National Online Conference Series.
What are your aspirations for your contribution to the AITPM?
I am passionate about inclusiveness and diversity, and I aim to inspire those around me to challenge the status quo and create change in our industry to reflect our diverse community. I think AITPM is a great platform to lead the change we need within our industry.
What has been a memorable moment in your career?
I’ve been involved in many fantastic projects, but the most memorable moments are with the people that I have worked with. The sense of achievement in the room after the GC2018 Commonwealth Games concluded, and the delivery of the AITPM 2020 and 2021 Online Conference Series come to mind.
Is there a challenge/problem that you have experienced in your career and how did you overcome it?
As a woman in this industry I have experienced situations of discrimination and harassment. I am proud of the person I have become while navigating these experiences and of finding the confidence to stand up for myself. Seeking support from mentors, sponsors and friends in the industry really was key to overcoming the negative experiences.
What are your personal and/or professional career plans for the future?
I am very excited that Brisbane is hosting the Olympics 2032 and I would really like to be a part of the transport strategy operational delivery.
Do you have any advice you would like to share to professionals in the transport/traffic industry?
I would encourage everyone to develop supportive working environments that treat employees as people not numbers. No matter your level you can have an impact on the culture of your work team.
I also encourage everyone to adopt a mindset of ‘standard you walk by is the standard you accept’ so we can collectively have an inclusive industry that treats everyone with respect.
What do you do in your spare time to unwind?
I’m a Brisbane Lions fan so you will find me yelling at the Gabba during the AFL season. I also enjoy spending time with family, friends, and my little dog Lumi.
Anything else that you’d like to share?
I am happy to chat all things transport, inclusion and AITPM, feel free to reach out through Interchange or LinkedIn.