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Why initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit are the top-valued qualities for engineers at ANCA

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ANCA Engineering Manager, Matt Mannix is surprised by how quickly he has notched up 10 years at ANCA but attributes this to the variety of roles he has progressed though and the different challenges and opportunities each presented. Since starting in out in 2011 Matt has worked across production, manufacturing operations, and now engineering as the department Engineering Manager.

Engineers are professional problem solvers and the ongoing challenges that can be identified and solved at ANCA are cognitively engaging. Matt said: “If you grow up with inherent curiosity then engineering is the field for you. I was generally curious as a kid and liked creating things leading to study in both engineering and industrial design. The marketplace led me to follow a path into manufacturing and engineering.”

Embracing technical problems with innovation

“At ANCA you get to express your curiosity and get paid to learn as you go. When engineering is geared towards product development you get to see your stuff come to life which is always really cool and satisfying. Our work is an engineer’s dream job because the technical problems to be solved are immense and the precision element adds another layer of complexity to it, so you are able to really immerse yourself in a technical environment and solve problems, and this enables a great sense of satisfaction. You can also see the tangible results of your work with a physical product being built in production and see it move, light up, grind and work as intended. This means you get to view months and years of hard work right in front of you, and it makes it all worth it in the end and is a real buzz for people.”

When it comes to Engineering at ANCA, Matt has found a work environment that is engaging and rewarding. He said: “At ANCA there is never any complacency, what you find is sheer dynamism, we are always doing more than perhaps we should, moving quickly, and nobody will ever, ever be bored. Our business is geared to innovation and new technology and this is an enjoyable experience because rather than a focus on monotonous refinement, the bend towards new technology means there is a level entrepreneurism that needs to be embraced. To get the most out of engineering at ANCA, you don’t need to stay strictly within the brief - there is more license for initiative, to be innovative and explore new technology. This has what has enabled me to continue a career at ANCA for so long.”

For Matt there are many aspects to what is unique about ANCA. Matt said: “What we do is really technically interesting with many technical problems to solve. There is also the ability to be more customer facing and engage in the marketplace as part of providing our custom solutions – this an unexpected aspect to an engineering role. You are able to grow, progress and move through the business and we have a great culture with good people to work with. Our people are fun and get through our challenges with a laugh while working hard together.”

Keeping curious and always learning

Another part of a satisfying career at ANCA is embracing the learning journey. This directly feeds into those that show initiative and entrepreneurial behaviour. For those that push themselves by owning situations and showing initiative, ANCA is not only the place for them as a conducive environment, but for a rewarding career. Once key underlying attributes are identified, role progression is possible with mentoring and/or additional learning. For Matt, his current role has led him to studying for his MBA at Melbourne University which will assist him to augment the busines aspects to his role and add more value to the business.

At ANCA there is a team of over 125 engineers across three countries. Matt’s role as Engineering manager is very literal - he manages engineers. He said: “Now if I do engineer something it is around systems and processes and people, not governance of technical outcomes - I leave that to people smarter than me. It is not my job to tell our incredibly intelligent people how to engineer a product. My job is to engineer the department to get successful business outcomes and enable people to be the best engineers they can. I do this by giving them targeted tools and processes and coach them to exercise the desired behaviours to allow them to create great technical and business outcomes.”

To get the utmost out his team Matt, above anything else, values initiative. He said: “Often the difference between a good engineer and a great engineer is not how smart they are or how hard they work but because they are willing to do what is required to be done and do it before it is asked of them. Those that show this initiative create the future; they take what they want to be possible but doesn’t exist and they turn it into something they want to happen. This is the underlying behaviour of the entrepreneurial spirit. This is what I covet the most in my engineers and it is the main behaviour that the great engineers exhibit. While a high IQ is good and important it is not the most dominant factor of your performance or how you add value to a business. If your work ethic and your ability to apply your intellectual horsepower are not there, then your degree is just wall art.”

18 October 2021