Our birthday Standards Heroes have been nominated by their peers to represent all our contributors - individuals we consider to be the real heroes of standards, in Australia and internationally. We thank those who contribute their knowledge and expertise, service, and time to Standards Australia for the benefit of the Australian community.
Susan Jaques is an engineer with an industrial project-based background. Her expertise lies in skills management around risk, quality, and project engineering. Susan is a member of several Standards Australia committees, and Chairs ME-038 Petroleum Pipelines.
How did you become involved in standards development?
I was invited to join a Standards subcommittee for pipeline design (AS2885) about 20 years ago. I had become known in my industry by asking “what is a pipeline engineer?”, and we’ve been trying to define it ever since. You have to be known as a contributor of ideas and solutions to get invited onto committees.
I stayed involved over the years because I enjoy the challenge of the “standard” language, the ongoing effort to make complex wording crisp, concise and clear.
More importantly, standards development is about the camaraderie with committee members, and I love that, being challenged by the brilliance around the table, and yet it’s also so supportive and dare I say, sometimes even fun.
What role have standards played in your career?
Fortunately, the standard that I work with the most, AS 2885, Petroleum Pipelines, is well-regarded, respected, and thoroughly relied upon in the pipeline industry.
We’re very proud of it and have even been told by international colleagues that it ‘punches above our weight’.
Being involved in developing the standard for 20 years has given me a unique insight into the requirements around designing, constructing and operating pipelines. Being involved is an anchor to go back to when I need reminding about the deep and brilliant technical knowledge around me.
What is a project you’ve been particularly proud to have helped deliver?
I was on the subcommittee that re-organised the suite of standards, taking the safety and integrity aspect out of the design standard and making it a standalone part in the suite (AS2885.6), extending the suite to 7 parts, about 1000 pages all up.
In separating the safety approach into a separate document, we now have a unique asset safety resource that applies across the lifecycle of a pipeline.
Outside of standards development, what have been some highlights of your career?
In 1997 my role as a young pipeline engineer allowed me to move from Canada to Australia. That’s definitely a highlight because it was only supposed to be a 4-year project and I’m still here 25 years later.
I’ve spent time on construction camps for different pipeline projects in remote locations like Normanton, north Queensland, Wagga Wagga, NSW, and the 935km distance from Wallumbilla, QLD to Moomba, SA, so I’ve seen parts of Australia that a lot of Australians never have.
My breadth of experience, and willingness to try new things, also took me to live in Johannesburg South Africa, where I worked in project controls and project management software system training. Three years in South Africa was a wonderful, memorable experience, for the work and the adventure.
Going out on my own with my own solo consultancy six years ago has also been fabulous: it’s a hard way to make an easy living.