What do you work in and what is your specialty?
As the Manager for Network Forecasting, I manage a team of statisticians, economists and engineers who are responsible for predicting how much, and when, customers will use electricity distribution network assets to deliver electricity to Queensland homes and businesses. In addition, the team also forecasts the uptake of solar panels, electric vehicles and batteries. My specialty is time series analysis, with a focus on multivariate data that is big, messy and correlated, and features multiple step changes.
How did you become interested in this area and when did you first start?
By the time I had completed my undergraduate degree in mathematics, I was captivated by the practical application of mathematics and statistics to real world industry problems. I focused on practical problems in my post-graduate studies. After finishing university, I spent five years applying statistics to commercial pricing matters at Energex, before accepting a management role.
What study path have you taken to get here?
I started by taking a Bachelor of Applied Science (Mathematics), following which I completed an Honours degree the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) where I focused on applied statistics. From there, I enrolled in a PhD in Bayesian Statistics, also at QUT. I have recently completed post-graduate studies in economics, leadership and management.
What do you like most about your job?
The work is fast paced and never dull – we are constantly investigating new problems or unexpected features found in data. The volume of data we can access is increasing rapidly, and this provides an exciting opportunity to apply different techniques and models. Our advice is highly influential and makes a significant impact on capital investment decisions.
What advice would you give to someone interested in working in this area?
Students who are keen to work in industry should look for as many opportunities as they can to participate in workplace projects, internships or summer programs. They should also be comfortable with a wide range of software packages and programming languages that are found in commercial workplaces.
Manager Network Forecaster