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As a product design consultancy, we often showcase our industrial design strengths but a large part of our service offering is our engineering capability. Our mechanical engineering team is where all the hard-core problem solving happens. They consistently shine by marrying function with form to produce in-hand results. Leading our engineering team is our Associate Principal of Engineering, Greg Storey (CPEng, CMEngNZ). Greg has recently become a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) and a Chartered member of Engineering NZ (CMEngNZ). We thought it would be a good opportunity to interview Greg about what that means and shine a bit of a spotlight on the engineering side of the business.

What made you decide to study mechanical engineering?

My engineering journey started at a young age where I began designing all sorts of things. I enjoyed Lego and MacGyver as a kid so that certainly helped hone my skills. I have always been keen to be hands-on and mechanical engineering has the perfect mix of analysis and practicality. 

What best describes what you do for Blender as a Mechanical Engineer?

Everyone has a technical aspect to their role at Blender. As an engineer, I apply maths and science to the designs. Mechanical engineering in the professional sense is across a wide range of industries. I work on mechanism design, manufacturability and structural aspects of products whether they be one-off or for mass manufacture. I have also spent a lot of time with injection moulding and developing custom processes in industry.

I have always been keen to be hands-on and mechanical engineering has the perfect mix of analysis and practicality.

What makes working for Blender different? And how does Blender approach projects differently in your view?

At Blender, I believe we can pull a problem apart to understand and quantify it better at the beginning. We aren’t just a resource, we provide a full solution for clients through working collaboratively across design, engineering and business. We know how important it is to understand the market for the solutions that we create.

You recently became a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) and a Chartered member of Engineering NZ (CMEngNZ). Can you tell us what this means for you and your work?

It’s a peer-reviewed recognition of my 19 years of experience and commitment to the ethics set by Engineering NZ. These ethics tie in well and complement our company values at Blender. They both foster a sense of honesty and integrity as well as finding the best solutions with sustainability in mind.

What does designing for impact mean for you? What are some key considerations that should be kept in mind that are often missed at the start of a project?

Impact is a term that can apply across the board. To me it means making an important contribution to  solving a problem that is noticeable and appreciated. This can be in many areas at the same time: from sustainability, financially; or from a market perspective.

At the start of a project it is easy to spend time framing the problem when you have limited information or haven’t had the opportunity to learn about what you are trying to solve. The time at the start is often not valued as much as near the deadlines so it is important to be efficient with time and resources from the get go.

For me every day has a new set of challenges and I enjoy the variety that entails.

What’s the biggest misconception about mechanical engineering?

Mechanical engineering has the greatest overlap with tradespeople. For instance a fabricator could call themselves a Mechanical Engineer. Chartered Professional Engineers know and apply  complex analysis and scientific theory. The term Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) is protected by law and there is a rigorous process to be followed to become chartered.

What are some key challenges in designing for a positive environmental impact?

Engineering NZ has some sustainability guidelines and we have our own considerations at Blender. One of the biggest challenges is separating true sustainability from the green-washing that is commonly found in marketing literature.

How do you see mechanical engineering changing over the next few years?

In the next few years the law will be changed and more engineering titles (and specific activities) will become protected by law – all of these titles will require registration with a national body. CPEng engineers will likely become Licensed Engineers. There may also be Chartered Engineers as a form of recognition with Engineering NZ – it is all very confusing and they are working out the fine details at the moment. It is an important thing to get right as it sets the Professional Engineering industry apart from others and will increase accountability and trust.

What do you find most rewarding about your job as a mechanical engineer?

I enjoy problem solving and this is the basis of my role. I find out what problems our clients and my colleagues are facing and break them down and analyse them. This can be for a variety of reasons: to ensure safety; increase efficiency and reduce cost; to check feasibility to choose the best approach. For me every day has a new set of challenges and I enjoy the variety that entails.

What do you like to do outside of Blender?

Around friends and family time I like to pull my house apart and renovate it. I’m not sure if I enjoy the building process or buying power tools more – I think they go hand in hand. If the weather is right I am a keen kayak fisherman.