As part of our goal to become an ever more sustainable, positive impact business, we will be featuring a spotlight on the next generation of rail industry leaders. For this inaugural Q&A, we caught up with Will Penrose, Technical Sales Engineer, Vossloh Cogifer Australia – a great ambassador for the rail’s rewarding working environment. A fan of Aussie Rules and cricket, Will reflects on his current role and shares his thoughts on improving diversity in the sector.

Your scholarship* entry to last year’s Heavy Haul Rail conference focused on improving diversity in the heavy haul industry. What inspired this idea?

The idea was pretty easy to come up with. You don’t have to spend long in the industry to see some of the issues it faces going forward. The average age of the industry is only moving up and there is always more that can be done to make it more inclusive. I feel as though the industry has identified this as a problem and is making moves to combat the issue. We have seen positive trends in the number of women and gender diverse people working in heavy haul and the rail industry in its entirety with a 6% increase over the last few years. Women now represent over 25% of rail industry personnel.

Improving diversity in the heavy haul industry improves results in the heavy hail rail industry. Scholarships focused on young people, women in rail and regional personal are a fantastic way to promote inclusion and bring these people into the industry.

A recent conference scholarship recipient:  Will Penrose, Technical Sales Engineer, Vossloh Cogifer Australia

What are you currently working on?

A: Currently, I am working on my personal development as well as developing my working relationship with a lot of our clients. I’m also been getting involved in the tendering process and contract work which has been exciting. Vossloh have a lot of exciting opportunities in the pipeline so being able to be involved in these as part of those operations is extremely satisfying and rewarding.

Tell us a little bit about your career path to date.

My current role at Vossloh is a Technical Sales Engineer under Regional Sales Manager, Thomas Wehrle. I got to this point after doing 18 months under Glenn Lorenz in the Engineering Department at Vossloh. Before that I was at Victoria University doing a Bachelor of Engineering and a Diploma of Engineering prior to the Bachelor.

What’s the favorite part of your job?

The best part of the job is hard to narrow down as there are a few things I love about working at Vossloh. Being able to come to work and genuinely enjoy the work you do and the people you work with is rare. Vossloh is one of the places where I can genuinely say that. Every day is filled with new challenges and obstacles to overcome but this in hand makes for a very rewarding working environment.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work I like to keep myself busy, playing both local football (Aussie Rules) and cricket. I find playing sport is a great way to unwind after work and also keep active. This being said I also try to do my part around these sporting clubs. I am currently the Secretary of the Castlemaine United Cricket Club and the Castlemaine District Cricket Association and am heavy involved off field at the Newstead Football Netball Club during the winter.

Where do you hope to go to next in your career?

This one is an interesting question as I am very happy with where I am in my career so far. I guess my main goals for the professional future is to keep developing my knowledge of the industry and become more established in this field. I want to be able look back and be satisfied that I did good work and positively contributed to both to Vossloh and the Industry as a whole. That being said I also want to get the best out of myself too so constantly looking at personal development and progress is important to me also.

*Will attended the 2022 Heavy Haul Rail conference on a scholarship that was proudly sponsored by Speno Rail Maintenance Australia (SRMA). 

Informa Australia is proud to offer scholarships for young rail professionals to attend all our conferences. Visit the event websites for more details.