Being a role model and helping to address climate change inspires Heidi Sick every day in her role at Aurecon, writes Gavin Dennett.

A love for her job and the sense of contributing to the greater good is what inspires Heidi Sick in her role at design, engineering and advisory company Aurecon.

With her title of industry director, energy, across Australia and New Zealand, she brings a wealth of passion and experience to the position she has held since 2019.

Having started her career as a chemical engineer, Heidi worked in the biotechnology industry for CSL in Melbourne for five years before relocating to the UK and working as a senior process engineer in the pharmaceutical space.

When that tenure came to an end, and with a desire to return home, she realised it would’ve been difficult to find similar work in Australia.

Having lived in Europe and observing how far advanced action on climate change is in that part of the world, Heidi realised how much significant transformation would be required Down Under to address the issue of carbon emissions and global warming.

“I wanted to be part of the change,” she tells EcoGeneration.

“I explored career options, undertook further study and secured a role at a consulting company providing advice around low-emissions technology.”

A move to Aurecon in 2019 has seen Heidi providing engineering advisory services across multiple sectors.

“It’s a market-facing role and I’m responsible for setting and executing the energy strategy for Aurecon,” she explains.

“My portfolio covers all power generation technologies, transmission distribution and oil and gas, providing services our clients need to support the rapid acceleration of energy transition.

“I love working in an industry that’s so dynamic; talking to clients to understand what their challenges are and helping them achieve their aspirations.

“I also love that energy has tentacles into other markets so I get broad exposure to energy strategy and decarbonisation of resources, water, transport, industrial and telco – it’s an all-encompassing beast.”

In addition to her role at Aurecon, Heidi has spent the past four years as a technical advisor on the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) advisory panel, and as deputy chair of not-for-profit organisation the Australian Power Institute (API).

“My role at ARENA involves assessing program funding applications across a broad range of renewable and emerging technologies,” she says.

“ARENA is making a demonstrable contribution to advancing and commercialising technologies needed for the transition [to renewables]. It’s fabulous to be part of that.

“Getting on the ARENA panel and gaining more exposure to the industry and its network of people has been a fundamental advancement in my career.

“With the API, they really wanted diversity on the board so I stepped out of my comfort zone and put myself forward.”

Heidi says the keys to her career progression in the clean energy sector have been good support, transparency, plenty of research and asking lots of questions.

“It’s really important to encourage the younger generation to connect with other role models in their organisations, or externally, to broaden networks and understand opportunities from experienced people,” she says.

“If anyone ever asks me for advice or mentoring, I always say yes because it’s important to give back, and for women in leadership positions to reach into their organisations to support other women.

“The opportunities are endless for the next generation; they can choose their own adventure.”