Her career has taken her around the world, from New Zealand to Spain to Scotland, but Kay Myers is now calling Romania home as she steps into the role of Construction and Commissioning Manager for our team delivering Australia’s new icebreaker, the research and supply vessel, RSV Nuyina.
Replacing Australia’s current icebreaker, the Aurora Australis, the RSV Nuyina will be the main lifeline to Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations and the central platform of Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific research. When the vessel arrives in Hobart, Tasmania, Kay will move into the role of Mechanical Engineering Manager to oversee the ongoing operation and maintenance of the icebreaker.
Kay is a professional engineer who studied Naval Architecture at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania and has a longstanding interest in icebreakers. It was this interest, combined with her passion for shipbuilding, that led her to accept the role on the Nuyina project in 2019.
“When I was studying at the Australian Maritime College,” Kay explains, “I would often come down to Hobart and see the Aurora Australis in port. I was always intrigued about how it survived the harsh Antarctic environment.”
What kind of things are you doing in your current role?
Right now, the focus is on testing the ship and preparing it for sea trials, which is fast paced and demanding. There’s a daily test and inspection programme, allowing rectification of any issues before sea trials. As this role shifts into an ‘operate and maintain’ phase, the focus isn’t only to hand over the ship to the customer, but to make sure it’s safe and efficient to operate. I visit the ship daily to see how the build is progressing. It’s changing often lately as the finishing touches take place.
How will your role as Mechanical Engineering Manager be different, and what excites you about that?
The first couple of years of operating will be during warranty, which is also the critical time for setting up all the operating procedures and maintenance strategies, so it will be quite a while yet until the role becomes routine and predictable.
I hope I’ll get to visit Antarctica at some point. That would be an amazing opportunity that I would never have thought could be part of my day job. Seeing the ship in such a harsh environment, having been part of getting her ready for it, will be truly rewarding.
In what ways has Serco supported and enabled you?
It has come down to trust, in both directions. Serco placed me in this role, trusting me to perform my duties and represent them on site in this remote part of the world. I’ve been trusted to act independently and be accountable for my decisions. This has given me the confidence to know that my skills and experience are right for the job.
The local site team have been with the project from the start, so they’ve been vital for bringing me up to speed and keeping all the build records in place to pull out when any queries arise.
What are your thoughts on Serco as an organisation where you can fulfil career ambitions?
Well, I’m fulfilling an ambition of mine right now. Serco's diverse range of contracts mean there are so many incredible opportunities to develop your skills and fulfil lifelong career ambitions – whatever they may be, whether it’s building a ship in Romania or operating innovative new technology in one of Australia's leading hospitals. It’s very rewarding, being part of something so impressive.