Making great strides in her career as an engineer

“If the dream is big enough, the facts don’t count,” says Alicia Celliers, an alumna of the Faculty of Engineering at the North-West University (NWU).

Alicia completed her Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering studies from 2009 to 2013. She is currently a project engineer at Single Destination Engineering (SDE). SDE is an engineering design company specialising in power generation and commercial projects.

Her motivation for studying engineering came from her fascination with wanting to understand how things work, and the automotive industry lured her into engineering. She explains that she was and will always be a huge Top Gear fan.

Alicia was recently a speaker at the virtual event of the Top 5 Industry Trends for Mechanical Design in 2021. The event was about the right tools that enable cloud collaboration, remote working environments and best practice solutions to give teams the edge they need to deliver their best outputs. She presented information about the industry’s challenges and lessons, and what this new year holds for the industry in South Africa. 

Alicia adds that some of her greatest achievements have been managing an eight-week FEED stage of a mini LNG plant in Nigeria, with no deadlines missed and executed penalty free. She also managed a fast-tracked plant modification of a 6 x GE TM2500 Gen4 to a 4 x GE TM2500 Gen8 aero-derivative turbine.

She was the chairperson of the central branch of the South African Institute of Mechanical Engineering (SAIMechE) from 2018 to 2019.  Alicia became a shareholder in SDE before the age of 30. She was also invited to be a guest speaker on the early career development of engineering professionals at Electra Mining Africa 2020.

A lesson learned during her years of study, she says, was that it is never too late to start studying for an examination paper or test. Procrastination is a reality and you need to start studying eventually, even if you first need to clean your flat, rearrange your textbooks alphabetically and finish that one season of your favourite series.

Some of the things she misses about being a student at the NWU are the social interaction, going to Impala, Picassos, Bourbons and the Draak.

 “To every young girl aspiring to be an engineer: do not be afraid to pursue your dream. Yes, engineering is still basically a man’s world, but if you really want to make your mark, you can. You will mostly be the only woman in a meeting or at a site visit. Does that really matter?” concludes Alicia.


Submitted by BELINDA BANTHAM on Mon, 02/15/2021 - 10:25