Bianca Blunden

What is your current position, and what do you do?
Supervisor Control Execution (Fixed Plant) for Integrated Remote Operations Centre (BHP Coal) for another 4 days, and then I will transition to Specialist Operational Design (BHP Olympic Dam). I was involved in the implementation of the Coal Integrated Remote Operating Centre (IROC) from project to execution to business as usual, by on-boarding and leading a team of 18 controllers who remotely control the processing plants for Coal across QLD and NSW. My new role will be on the project team for the Olympic Dam IROC that we are establishing in Adelaide.

What made you decide not to pursue/to leave research?
I wanted to try something different.

How did you transition into this current role from a science degree?
Applied for the BHP Graduate Program in the Processing Team.

How have you used the skills/knowledge that you acquired, from studying chemistry, in your current role?
Problem-solving and thinking outside of the box is a key part of every role that I have had. Studying Chemistry taught me to look at things differently, analyse it from a different angle, seek ulterior solutions, follow my instincts, and not always assume that the first solution is the best solution.

What has been your biggest challenge, career-wise?
Proving that my skills are relevant in the Coal industry.

What achievement are you most proud of?
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, and completing my PhD would be on par.

What are your interests outside of work?
Hockey, hiking, travelling, volunteering with Camp Quality.

What advice would you give to students starting their science careers?
It’s as fun as you make it!! Seek out the good lecturers, those you aspire to be like, or are inspired by, and find a mentor who challenges you to be better and think differently.

What helps you achieve a work-life balance?
Good friends, travel (turn off the tech!), volunteering with kids as they remind me of the simply joys in life. The best advice I’ve been given is to be present and focus on what is at hand, whether it’s a meeting, playing with the kids, or a conversation with a friend. The meeting isn’t going to benefit from you planning your kids lunches in your head, and the kids aren’t going to benefit from you checking your emails on your phone.

Is there anything you would like to share?
Have fun and don’t stop laughing. If it’s not fun then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

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