Senior Draftsperson, Annette Wilson, or ‘Draftie’ as she is known in the Geotech world has spent over two decades at Tetra Tech Coffey making plans come to life for our engineers and our clients. After 21 years of service with Tetra Tech Coffey, she is ‘hanging up her drafting tools’ and following her retirement dream to explore the big brown land that is Australia with her husband Brian. Here she shares some of career highlights.
What has it been like working for Tetra Tech Coffey for the last 21 years?
I’ve really enjoyed working for Tetra Tech over all those years. As a working mum, I have loved the flexibility. The first ten years were part time, working 2 to 3 days a week which enabled me to raise my family. Later, I went full-time so Tetra Tech Coffey gave me the flexibility to have that work life balance when needed.
My discipline of ‘drafting’ is a specialised field in geotechnical and environmental science so there is a very limited pool of people that actually do this type of drafting. In a nutshell, it is my job to create technical drawings for reports so our engineers and geologist can clearly explain what is required.
Working here I have worked with many great people over the years and have been supported to develop and grown as the industry has evolved.
I find it most amusing that Mike Norman (Principal Engineer and Operations Manager – Geotechnics NSW), who first employed me way back in 2001 and was my first boss is now farewelling me today as my last boss. Mike has worked for Tetra Tech all over the world and has returned to Sydney and I’m still here.
What changes have you noticed in your field of drafting over a career of 40 years?
One word sums it up – Technology. Starting out my career it was all hand drafting, with everything drawn by hand. With the introduction of computers 30 odd years ago it all shifted to computer drafting.
I primarily did 2D drafting but it wasn’t till 2010 that we started using AutoCAD Civil 3D. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I was doing 3D drafting but it was certainly more sophisticated drafting. So instead of computer drafting the entire thing, now I was able to set parameters to create exactly what I wanted.
AutoCAD was so new 30 years ago there weren’t many courses around to learn the software, but I was very fortunate at Tetra Tech Coffey I got to work with a colleague at the time Lei He, who was extremely tech savvy. He taught me everything about Civil 3D to create sections.
What is one of your most memorable projects?
There are just so many, but one that does stand out is the Sydney Metro Northwest Rail Project, which was the new metro line from Epping right through to Tallawong.
That would have been a good 10 years ago now and it was the first job where we really used the Civil 3D to its full capability. This major project that we worked on for over 2 years, where hundreds of drawings were required. I really enjoyed the challenge of that project.
Similarly, now I’ve been working on Western Sydney Airport Metro, a major project that has required hundreds of drawings. So, it’s nice to finish up my career on another major metro project.
So, what’s next?
Big, big, big plans. My husband and I are leaving Sydney in March next year to travel Australia. We’ve got a truck and a small van, and our intention is to roam and explore.
That is my moto, to roam and explore!