How engineering has helped Melanie Bowden make tracks around the world

November 18, 2021
  • Diversity and inclusion

Melanie Bowden never planned to be an engineer, but a passion for maths accidentally became a profession. 

“I didn’t come from a STEM background or have a burning desire to be an engineer. I was applying for scholarships and noticed there were loads available for engineering. I enjoyed maths at school, so I thought it was worth a shot,” she says.  

Whilst obtaining her degree, her first site job was on a power plant in Germany as part of an international internship exchange.  

Melanie returned to Australia post-internship and headed underground to work on a range of road and tunnelling projects for CPB Contractors straightaway.  

“I worked on some incredible infrastructure projects as an environmental graduate engineer such as the Hunter Expressway Project in Newcastle and various FIFO tunnelling projects around the country,” she says.

After six years, Melanie needed a change of scene, which meant a relocation to the northern hemisphere for a role on arguably the most famous subway in the world, the London Tube, as part of the Crossrail project. 

“The great thing about rail is that it exists in every country, so you can work and see the world at the same time,” she says. 

After three years, Melanie was keen to return to warmer waters and her old workplace, which, in the time she’d been gone, had grown, merged and changed names.  

“After spending just shy of a year with RCR Infrastructure working in Sydney, it was a full-circle moment returning to CPB Contractors. I wanted to work for them again because they have some of the most interesting projects and great people,” she says. 

Melanie has been part of the industry for over 10 years and could not imagine working anywhere else.  

“I prefer rail over other construction projects because there really seems to be a culture of mateship and comradery… it’s like a little family,“ she says.  

“I’m also thrilled to be part of Y-LAB – the Young Leaders Advisory Board – as I can be part of a committee that discusses issues, projects and priorities for emerging talent. It’s great the industry wants to hear our voice.” 

Since her return to CPB Contractors, Melanie has taken up a role as a Project Manager where she oversees her team’s progress and plans future works. 

“The most consistent part of my day involves critical thinking and problem solving… when I’m on site I make sure the team are doing things the way we said we would. I love walking alongside railway tracks and seeing a project come to life,” she says. 

“I can’t wait until faster rail becomes a reality in Australia… I know it’s a while away, but that will be an incredible project to see come to life. 

“I go where the opportunities arise and my career plan has never been structured. I never want to be in a role that’s boring… if you work in rail there’s no chance for boredom.” 

 mel bowden

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