Sunday 29th Mar, 2020

ASBSH Member Profile: Priscilla Freire

We speak to Priscilla Freire, Business Development Engineer for TUNRA Bulk Solids and Research Development Engineer for the Centre for Bulk Solids & Particulate Technologies.

In each issue, ABHR profiles a member of the Australian Society for Bulk Solids Handling (ASBSH). We speak to Priscilla Freire, Business Development Engineer for TUNRA Bulk Solids and Research Development Engineer for the Centre for Bulk Solids & Particulate Technologies.

I have been a member of ASBSH since…

September 2019. I decided to join the Society after attending the very successful International Conference on Bulk Materials Storage, Handling & Transportation at the Gold Coast and wanted to be more involved with other events that promote the development of engineers and researchers.

I joined the ASBSH…

to provide my support to the Society and to expand my network in the field of bulk solids handling in Australia. Coming from Brazil, I am fairly new in Australia, and being a part of a society allows me to gain better understanding of the Australian bulk handling market.

I got into bulk handling…

after seeing how passionate my father is about the wonderful world of mining and materials handling. I had the great privilege to start my career working literally side-by-side with him at Ausenco in Brazil and came into contact with massive projects from early conceptual design to engineering, procurement, construction management. Seeing how passionate he is about all things bulk-handling and conveying sparked my interest.

I am currently researching…

the economics behind bulk handling systems (more specifically transfer chutes). One of the questions engineers in this field are often asked is “why should I invest in characterising materials before starting my project?” or “what is the economic benefit of investing in advanced engineering practices and laboratory testing?”.  I am currently doing a PhD with the Centre for Bulk Solids & Particulate Technologies at the University of Newcastle hoping to answer some of these questions.

I love my current work because…

it is very dynamic. My work involves interacting with clients, researchers, engineers and technicians, chasing up funding sources for research projects, promoting education activities in the bulk solids handling sector, coordinating projects and attending and organising technical events. There is never a dull moment.

In my role it’s important to…

stay up to date with new projects under development, new companies and ‘who-is-who’ in the world of materials handling.

The project I am most proud of is…

coordinating the set-up of a research laboratory at the University of São Paulo in Brazil through the collaboration between the bulk solids handling group at the University of Newcastle and the Mining and Petroleum Engineering Department at USP.

My career highlight is…

receiving a letter of recommendation from the Head of R&D – Mining in thyssenkrupp (Brazil) for ‘contributing to the development of Brazilian technology’ through ‘enabling knowledge transfer to Brazilian engineers in all the production chain’.

I am inspired by…

my parents. Being raised by very hard-working people that value education above all has opened all doors for the development of my career in a supportive environment (especially in a field where there still is so little female representation). 

The most valuable lesson I have learned is…

each individual skillset is valuable and has its space. Working alongside knowledgeable engineers, technicians and academics, but also with highly experienced communications specialists, allows for the exchange of knowledge but also the development of soft skills.

My plans for the future are…

finishing my PhD and taking on a full-time position as business and research development engineer in the field of bulk solids handling, bringing solutions to difficult challenges by closing the gap between specialists and industry.