Mehul Naik is the new Champion from Barwon Water and brings with him an extensive background in the water industry after spending time at Central Highlands and Coliban before his current role in Geelong.
Can you give us a bit of your personal background?
I came to Australia in 2006 as a student from India. My hometown is Surat which in the state of Gujarat, in the western part of India. I come from a land of colours, food and cricket. I grew up in highly dense population so coming to Australia was a big shock as it’s hard to find a soul after five! However, I love the laid-back approach to the life and people are not too fussed about money.
I am married to Janvi Desai with two daughters – four-year-old Aria and six-year-old Maya. In my spare time I’m a photographer, enthusiastic cook and an all-rounder club cricketer and I did my bachelors in chemical engineering and masters in water and environment.
And what is your professional background?
I got my first role at Central Highlands Water as system engineer in 2008. I worked mainly on development of water and sewer models and data gathering.
I then moved to Coliban Water in 2009 as networks engineer. My responsibilities included developing sewer main and water main replacement strategies, contractor management, odour and corrosion management and small capital project management.
In 2011 I got a new role at Barwon Water as collection system engineer and moved to asset coordinator role later on. I look after all sewer and water pump station, odour and corrosion facilities and secondary disinfection facilities.
What inspired you to want to become a champion?
I love innovation and new technologies. I feel that water industry is running behind in terms of innovations and smart technologies compare to other industries. I want to invest my time in exploring opportunities to work smarter.
I am also very interested in the leadership program that IWN is offering to the champions. I am at the stage where I need to develop leadership skills to further my career. I believe that the leadership program and mentoring will help me fill in the gaps and gain the leadership skills.
What IWN program interests you the most?
The programs that interest me the most are asset management and optimisation, collaboration and knowledge sharing as well as energy and carbon.
What are you hoping to get out of your new role?
Valuable leadership skills and I want to gain exposure to new technologies and innovations as well as using the networking opportunities. I also want to implement some of the opportunities and bring some ideas to the program.