LIMELIGHT: Holden director of quality Melanie Pollock featured in their Test Drive Challenge ads.
LIMELIGHT: Holden director of quality Melanie Pollock featured in their Test Drive Challenge ads. Contributed

Tinkering on family farm to one of Holden's top engineers

TINKERING in the shed on the family farm in Blenheim set Melanie Pollock down the road to becoming one of Holden's top engineers.

She might be a familiar face after appearing on their recent Test Drive Challenge advertisements.

Exciting times lie ahead, with Holden announcing at the end of August they will increase the size of their engineering and development workforce to more than 500 people.

"Growing up in the Lockyer Valley did have a big influence on my decision to head down this path," Mrs Pollock said.

"I would often be in Dad's shed helping him with farm equipment or rebuilding an old car engine, or helping Mum out in the paddocks or fixing pumps or pipes.

"I suppose it sparked my interest in how things work. Without that rural experience, I'm not sure I would have been so inspired to follow an engineering career."

The 40-year-old is Holden's director of quality based in their Melbourne head office and is responsible for the quality of products brought into the Australian market.

"Every day is different," she said.

"We are hands-on with the products, so (at the moment) we're driving new Arcadias that we're about to launch at the end of the year. We're testing them on the road before they're released to the general public."

The former Laidley State High School student got the chance to attend a STEM summer school at USQ.

After moving on to Ipswich Girls Grammar, Mrs Pollock set her mind on pursuing a career in engineering.

Her brother Tim is an electrical engineer who designs and builds standalone water purification devices for his race car computer-tuning business.

Their parents, Pat and Allan Ericson, reside in Laidley Heights.

Mrs Pollock does a lot of work with school students to support their learning in STEM subjects.

"The best piece of advice I can give is if you excel at maths subjects in junior school, that you should continue with these subjects into senior years," she said.

"They might be more challenging but it keeps your options open. Being an engineer meant that I had the flexibility to work doing testing, design work, project management, change management and now leadership."