The Smedley's Engineers Team
The Smedley’s Engineers team consists of a dynamic group of highly qualified and educated professionals, with experience across all corners of the engineering landscape. Our workplace culture is built on teamwork, diversity, positivity and a drive to deliver innovative solutions.
- Dean Abram
- Robert Smedley
- John Thompson
- Huw Simms
- Vickie Dare
- Jackson Heil
- David Clark
- Jason Stewart
- Magnus Heywood
- Renee Koh
- Sean Williamson
- Mitchell Zyskowski
- Jack Johnson
- Dion Simms
- Andrej Bucko
- Brian Chuang
- Nathan Wiblin
- Darcy Shepherd
- Alex Chen
- Simon Burston
Operations Manager & Senior Engineer
With extensive experience in all aspects of heavy vehicle engineering and vehicle design certification, Dean joined the Smedley’s team in 2016 as Senior Heavy Vehicle Engineer.
Across his diverse career, which includes both technical and sales roles, he has worked with major names in the freight vehicle industry including Kenworth/Paccar, Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Mercedes-Benz Military Vehicles, AeroMobiles in Singapore, and Daimler Trucks Sydney.
He has also managed his own business in Australia, providing specialised vehicle homologation, certification and vehicle import for a Singaporean manufacturer and supplier, while also being a Licenced Certifier under the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme (VSCCS).
Graduating with a Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering with Honours from Monash University, Dean’s keen interest in trucks saw him take on a sales role where he learned important aspects of the industry at the front line, enabling him to genuinely understand the needs of the customers from a purchasing perspective.
Prior to this, he was in specialised engineering roles, where he was able to apply his technical aptitude in the fields of vehicle testing, performance analysis (for both commercial and military use), design development, compliance, and vehicle safety.
As well as his stand-out communication and analysis skills, developed over many years liaising with government agencies and external stakeholders, Dean has built an envied reputation for his astute problem solving, and creative approach to tackling the varied and ever-changing challenges of the modern heavy vehicle industry to deliver optimum outcomes for his clients.
Managing Director & Senior Engineer
Robert Smedley has always shared a passion for all things automotive. After getting his Bachelor of Engineering majoring in Robotics and Mechatronics, Robert moved into the domain of heavy vehicle braking systems with Knorr-Bremse Australia Pty Ltd.
While working with this internationally renowned company, Robert rose to the position of Senior Engineer, responsible for Knorr-Bremse’s range of Advanced Braking Technologies and Brake System Design. He was a key member of Knorr-Bremse’s global team of Advanced Braking Technology experts, and continues to be recognised for his role as the engineer responsible for rolling out the first Australian-built trucks to be fitted with ‘ESP’ for Kenworth trucks.
This high-level experience saw him appointed as Principal Engineer (Heavy Vehicle Freight Network) for the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads. He advised on the technical issues relating to the construction and dynamic performance of heavy vehicles, and the interrelationship between road geometry and heavy vehicle operating characteristics. He was also actively involved in evaluating and managing the impacts of heavy vehicles and advising other agencies and associations.
In December, 2013, Robert joined with his father Alan to regenerate the Smedley family’s innovative and passionate leadership in Australia’s heavy vehicle engineering industry. Robert maintains a high level of involvement in the heavy vehicle industry in Australia through his participation in industry reference groups and associations at industry events.
And as well as his managerial obligations he also encourages a very hands on approach to the heavy vehicle industry, regularly getting behind the wheel of an 18 speed multi-combination vehicle and putting it to the test.
Starting his career as a young 16-year-old, a new chapter began at the conclusion of the curricula year, where each high school student had the option to secure a job or apprenticeship before the new curricula year commenced or they would have to remain in school. John had a plan and was more motivated than ever to get to work. His passion was undeniably in the automotive industry stemming from a love of working on car, however an opportunity came up for an apprenticeship as a heavy vehicle body builder which he couldn’t turn down. It took 4 years to complete the apprenticeship and he stayed on the tools for an additional 2 before transitioning into other positions within the heavy vehicle industry.
John’s experience in sales was taking form which started from working at a leading hydraulic manufacturing company in internal sales before getting promoted to external sales; the combination of both appointments saw him excelling in his role over the 8 years he remained in the company. Following on from this, John moved onto a Sales representative position for an axel & suspension supplier and remained in the company for 6 years before he became their Product Manager for the hydraulics division.
The biggest career leap came after acquiring 50% shares in a reputable trailer manufacturing company back in 2008. It was all hands on deck with the operations and management of the business which John was well immersed in for 13 years with his business partner. After spending an outstanding time in the industry and managing his own business, it was at this point John made the decision to sell his shares with a view for semi-retirement. However, after enjoying some time off, it wasn’t long after where he was approached by Robert Smedley with an offer to be our now Sales Manager on a part-time basis. From mid-2022 John accepted this offer and has brought to the team his wealth of knowledge, abundance of skill sets and his well-formed reputation with mutual industry connections. To this day he is passionate about the heavy vehicle industry, its people and finds a lot of satisfaction seeing the progressive nature of it all which is bringing forward a lot of change.
Outside of the professional sphere John is a doting family man who enjoys spending quality time with his loved ones. His personal interests are keeping fit and watching sports.
IT Systems Manager
Joining Smedley’s Engineers as an Engineering Design Technician in April 2022, Huw Simms brings to the team a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Huw commenced his engineering career in 2018, working in civil design. Other previous roles include working as a design draftsman, landscape designer, playground designer, Defense Sim operator/IT Technician, and IT Administrator.
With a civil engineer father and automotive engineer brother (Dion Simms), it is no surprise that Huw found himself joining the Smedley’s team.
Huw is passionate about engineering and driven to understand how the world around him was built, both physically and digitally.
His interests and strengths in systems and process improvement, as well as automation, are accompanied by his honest work ethic, commitment to quality and a determination to leave a positive mark.
Huw’s technical intelligence, civil infrastructure design skills and approach to applying innovative technologies to improve systems and general business cements him as a true asset to Smedley’s Engineers and its clients. His continuing dedication has seen him recently promoted from IT Technician to our IT Systems Manager within the business.
Fun Fact: Huw knows the lyrics to John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’ verbatim. He also enjoys coding, politics, comedy, gaming and is a volunteer firefighter for the Country Fire Authority.
Vickie has been with the Smedley’s Engineers team for a little over a year and has already established herself as a highly organised and proactive team member. She brings to us a wealth of experience across administration, customer service, finance, sales, and marketing support. With a strong focus on customer service gained from her background in Manufacturing companies which relied heavily on maintaining relationships with their B2B clients; her work has continued to provide substantial improvements to our systems and customer experience from her dedication to contribute to building the foundations which strengthens the gap between our customers and the sales and engineering teams. Within a year as a Sales Coordinator, she has managed to roll out effective processes and procedures for the team to utilise.
We asked Vickie what the drawcard was for her to apply to work at Smedley’s Engineers. Her response is she wanted to be part of a growing business which specialises in a service and takes pride in doing it well. Collectively, most of the Smedley’s team members can say that Vickie is truly amazing at what she does, her ability to enhance interdepartmental communication and streamline processes and procedures is just one of the ways she helps to ensure customer satisfaction.
We understand the importance of providing our employees opportunities to grow in their role or within the business. By having the information around everyone’s strengths and interests this creates insights on how we can support career aspirations. Vickie highlighted she has a keen interest in Project Management and Business Analysis, after a year of being with us she was promoted into a Project Administrator position where she continues to assist the engineering team by helping them with organising and assigning projects alongside the ongoing support she still provides to our sales team. She enjoys being the central point of information and coordination between our customers and Smedley’s employees and has proven her strength’s work in many areas of the business.
During her spare time, you will find Vickie dabbling in some recreational drawing whether it be done traditionally or digitally. Being the thoughtful human she is, she volunteered her time and talent to the RSPCA Mother’s Day fundraiser event in 2022 called ‘Badly Drawn Pets’ where she created artwork of the photo submissions received from pet owners.
Special Projects Management
Since graduating from Swinburne University in 2013, Jackson Heil has been in demand as a skilled and innovative mechanical engineer. In 2018, he joined the Smedley's Engineers team.
Driven by a fascination for mathematics since his school days, Jackson’s inquisitive nature and thirst for knowledge – especially in how things worked – forged a keen desire to pursue a career in engineering. Like many in the profession, he spent hours as a lad, disassembling, servicing and reassembling anything that moved.
This deep curiosity led him to a degree in engineering, followed by a number of years at one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of trailer bodies. Here, he designed, from concept to construction, the firm’s first six-axle dog trailer with twin-bodied side tippers enabling greater loads, as well as new light-weight trailer models.
His ingenuity extended to finding effective ways to decrease warranty claims for old designs, which both saved money and provided greater product efficiency.
Jackson holds a keen interest in the technical side of the industry and all the ‘behind-the-scenes’ elements of design, innovation and manufacturing to meet PBS requirements.
Naturally, his drive and energy spills over into his life away from engineering, and his spare time is often consumed with snowboarding, riding motorbikes and competing in triathlons.
Engineering Manager - Certification & Compliance
With both an engineering degree and business management qualifications to his name, David has been at the forefront of cutting-edge engineering since 2012. He began his career in the F1 & Special Builds division of one of the world’s leading high-performance automotive cooling specialists, and in 2015 he moved across to heavy vehicle industry as a mechanical engineer.
Like most engineers, his attraction to the field began as a young lad, dismantling anything he could, in order to figure out what made it work. This fascination was fuelled by access to his family’s own trucks and machinery from a young age, and a background in speedway racing.
His extensive experience in brake, noise and roll-over testing has driven his enthusiasm to find new innovations in vehicle performance, and he feeds off the excitement, expectation and pressure that comes with applying and assessing new technology. This eagerness is only matched by his deep-seated interest in developing vehicle components that enhance safety, output and efficiency, underpinned by his broad industry knowledge and outstanding customer service.
A longstanding tradition of the Stewart family is to serve in the military, therefore with school coming to an end Jason had his sights set on continuing the legacy by going on to serve with the Royal Australian Airforce for an honourable decade. This opportunity exposed him to many interesting facets in the field, one of many notable experiences was getting behind the wheel of various military vehicles.
Upon completing his service, Jason made a decision to engage in further studies at TAFE where he obtained a Diploma of Business Administration and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. He was then offered an opportunity at a TAFE to become their trainer in the transport and logistics field which he gladly took up. From here he left to join the Australian Apprenticeships Centre working closely with apprentices before moving onto Transpacific Industries - Cleanaway where he spent the duration of his time there until an unexpected restructure occurred which unfortunately resulted in redundancies. Regardless of this Jason went from strength to strength as a trainer moving into another role at Queensland Education doing apprenticeship and traineeship work for a year before he made his way to Transport and Main Roads. This ultimately led him into his recent roles with National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) where he was a part of the team for 5 and a half years as their Engagement Officer before being promoted to Customer Experience Specialist for a further 3 years. During this period, he also participated in more studies adding to his growing list of qualifications in Customer Experience obtained through reputable institutions such as CSIA and Strativity Group.
After being with NHVR for several years, it was time for a change. At this moment Smedley’s Engineers was also recruiting for an Engagement Specialist. Understanding the ins and outs of the regulator, transport, and logistics industry this is particularly beneficial to assist with the facilitation of access for our customers through maintaining strong relationships with road managers and ultimately overseeing permits are issued in a timely manner. Jason’s plethora of experience and reputation in the industry established over the years certainly made him a worthy candidate to help reduce the gap between Smedley’s Engineers with the state and local government road managers where manoeuvring the complexity of the system can become challenging at the best of times. Jason continues his endeavours in CX with us through building on the foundation stones which have been laid out already by continually improving our systems and processes.
Fun Fact: Out of business hours, Jason is proud of his Scottish heritage where he is a member of The Stewart Society and is a regular participant in Celtic festivals throughout Queensland.
Engineer - Certification & Compliance
Magnus joined Smedley’s in October 2020 after earning his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Macquarie University. However, his path towards joining the profession began many years ago.
Born into a family of designers, an eye for detail and sense creativity was in his DNA, but it was his father’s passion for cars, motorbikes and basically anything with an engine, that really piqued his interest. From an early age, Magnus shared that passion as well. As a young lad, he’d test himself by trying to spot different makes and models of cars, bikes and planes. That fascination, led to him wanting to know more about the internal, mechanical differences of each, and the underlying details and principles that governed mechanical systems.
Excelling in the STEM subjects at school and uni, he found his niche in heavy vehicle engineering, leading him to join the team where he is now involved in elements of research, design and testing, while also enjoying the opportunity to apply the knowledge he gained university to have an impact in the real world.
Magnus is very service and people-oriented, and as well as relishing the design side of the job, he is just as keen to roll up his sleeves in the field for testing and certification tasks.
A keen motorcyclist, Magnus takes his interest from merely savoring the sense of freedom when riding his Honda CBR1000RR to tinkering with it, understanding it, and even exploring the aerodynamics of motorcycles.
Engineer - Certification & Compliance
Renee comes to us with a desire to be challenged. She has studied a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, which ignited the spark of wanting an academic struggle transpiring into a career within the field. Back in school she enjoyed math and physics, but her heart was also set on music, playing the piano, drums, and cello plus many other instruments. What’s interesting is Renee has a great love and appreciation for music and her dream career was to become a musician in a heavy metal band. However, engineering has taken a hold of her, and she is now part of the Smedley’s Engineers Certification & Compliance team, a role she applied for based on the small but rapidly growing size of the company and the culture that comes with it. Renee was drawn to Smedley's from the potential to be challenged to learn more and collaborate across different departments without the corporate politics that you often find in larger companies.
In her spare time, Renee plays the drums for her church, enjoys gaming, and sews for fun.
Engineer - Certification & Compliance
Deciding to take a different route, Sean set out to experience the world before settling into a degree and career by taking an 8-year gap year. One major goal for Sean is to visit every country in the world! He certainly is on his way to doing this having already ticked off 89 countries and doing so through self-power where physically possible. Whether it was riding a bike from Greece to Russia or canoeing the Murray River, Sean has done it.
Originally from Brisbane, Sean decided to relocate to Melbourne. Having spent some time to discover himself and work on his personal goals it was clear to Sean he had an interest in understanding more about how things work and having the ability to work with his hands was a key factor to what he wanted to do with his career. Therefore, it was only natural to pursue an engineering degree. Sean graduated in mid-2023 after 6 years of studying, during this time he also spent 3 years working as an undergraduate in a medical engineering company specialising in the production and manufacturing of medical devices. Sean was part of the production and design team gaining some vital experience during his time of employment.
After graduating from university, Sean was keen to find a role which supported his interests in the automotive industry. This is where Smedley’s Engineers comes into the picture with the opportunity to work in vehicle certification and learn more about the Australian Design Rules, some of the aspects Sean is most excited to understand more in depth.
Engineer - Certification & Compliance
Mitchell graduated from his Mechanical Engineering degree from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. During his studies he participated in the composite project working on testing methods to test strength differences between plasma treated carbon fibre thermoplastic composites. The pull towards an engineering career came from his interests in physics, taking things apart, building and designing. During his course of study Mitchell also worked at Futura Trailers for a year as a CNC Engineer, Product Development Engineer and FEA Engineer.
After graduating, Mitchell wanted to expand his horizons and seek out other career opportunities, deciding to relocate abroad and settling for the warmer climate in Brisbane, Australia. From here he secured a position with a bull bar company as their Mechanical Engineer before finding his way to Smedley’s Engineers in the Certification and Compliance team. The role Mitchell is in currently encompasses certification and has avenues to broaden his knowledge on regulations in the automotive industry which is more centred around what he wishes to specialise in.
In his spare time, he enjoys working on side projects and doing flying lessons. One of his core projects is designing his own aircraft which he plans on building in the near future.
Engineer - Certification & Compliance
Jack comes to us with a fresh take on engineering, recently graduating from his degree in Mechanical Engineering at Queensland University of Technology. During his studies he juggled working as a barista along with assisting his uncle in his landscaping and property maintenance business before finishing up at Bunnings. As an undergraduate Jack interned for HVIA where he assisted in producing a tyre learning module and worked at the recent Brisbane Truck Show where he also came across the opportunity to meet Robert Smedley and the team. This ultimately led to him becoming one of our graduate engineers where he continues his journey in the heavy vehicle industry.
Currently Jack is in the Certification & Compliance team spending most of his time inspecting vehicles. Eventually, he has plans to relocate to Melbourne to work alongside our Design, Testing and Simulation team to expand his engineering knowledge and skillsets with the multi-faceted opportunities which are available within Smedley’s.
In his spare time, he enjoys restoring an old Kingswood and modifying his 4X4 a hobby which rings true to many engineers that have a knack for all things with machines and wheels. Jack is also aspiring to compete in a body building competition, following a strict routine particularly after an injury in touch football. You will find him frequenting the gym at least 5 times a week and focusing on his ability to stay consistent and disciplined.
Engineering Manager - Design, Testing & Simulation
In 2010, while on a gap year, Dion joined the team at a brand-new recycled water plant on the Gold Coast, where he was tasked with checking completed construction works against the project specifications. This early insight into the industry fuelled an interest in engineering that he’d had since he was a kid playing with Lego Technic and matchbox cars, and later as a farm teenager fixing and creating his own machinery. His destiny was set.
Initially studying a combined Industrial Design/Mechanical Engineering degree he realised that, while industrial design was not his forte, he both loved and excelled at engineering and, following his good sense, he switched to Automotive Engineering – and has not looked back. Australia’s automotive industry landscape would however shape his career path.
At the start of his university studies, Ford, Holden and Toyota all made cars in Australia. By the time he graduated, all three had announced their departure from these shores. Attracted by the allure of motorsport, he joined Volvo Polestar Racing in 2014 as a Data & Design Engineer for a number of years, before moving onto senior design and engineering roles at Ford Motors and wastewater consultancy CEENA, as well as establishing his own consultancy business, Polymathic. But his early interest in heavy machinery never truly left him, and in February 2021, he joined the team at Smedleys.
To the firm, he brings his high-performance mindset, which encompasses design, manufacture, self-assemble, test, assess, re-design – often within short timeframes. Dion’s keen mind sees him readily utilise the full ‘engineering toolset’ of analysis, understanding, modelling, iterating and refining, with consummate skill and drive, and his Professional Certificate in Systems Engineering from MIT has seen him become a strong advocate for tying different modelling or data systems together to help uncover innovative solutions.
“Engineers are efficiency practitioners and problem solvers, and I love both aspects, so I bring a lot of enthusiasm and optimism to the table. I really enjoy teaching and sharing knowledge. I really enjoy using data logging equipment, manufacturing wiring looms, and getting out to do field work.”
As a Senior Engineer, Dion is a valuable member of the team, and revels in the variety of work that comes with a consultancy, the just-do-it nature of smaller teams, and working with a group of passionate and talented people on locally made components in an exciting growth area in the Australian industry.
A true polymath, away from work Dion divides his time between electronic music production, snow skiing, craft beer, making furniture and engineering race cars in the TCR and Porsche Carrera Cup Australia motorsport series.
Senior Engineer - Design, Testing & Simulation
Andrej joined Smedleys as a Senior Engineer in 2018 after almost a decade at ARRB where he honed his skills in the field of vehicle dynamics.
Graduating from Monash University, Clayton in 2011, with both a degree in mechanical engineering, and a Bachelor of Science (majoring in physics and maths), Andrej has successfully combined the academic and theoretical aspects of these disciplines with a practical aptitude that sets him apart from many in his field.
He brings substantial heavy vehicle knowledge, together with expertise in AutoSIM, ADAMS and Trucksim simulation packages, and is an accredited performance based standards (PBS) assessor. These skills ensure that he is quick to identify potential engineering, design and performance challenges well in advance, and then apply his knowledge, with integrity and scientific rigor, to find effective and efficient solutions.
Andrej credits his success to his keen interest in seeing how his vehicle combinations perform in simulation, and motivated by the knowledge that he is able to help increase the productivity and safety of Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet. When not watching animations of trucks, Andrej can often be found at the gym or making YouTube videos.
Senior Engineer - Design, Testing & Simulation
With a natural gift for maths, science and design, Brian always seemed destined to be an engineer; a field in which he could put his considerable skills to good use, finding and developing creative solutions to address the engineering challenges of Australia’s booming heavy vehicle transport industry.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from QUT University, Brian went on to work with Australia’s National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. It was here that he acquired a taste for the industry and gained valuable insights into the expectations and methodologies of the nation’s peak assessment authority, and importantly, its regulations, policies and standards, particularly in PBS.
In 2020, he decided to shift his focus to development and innovation, and brought his extensive knowledge, strong work ethic and customer-first approach, to Smedley’s Engineering, and quickly proved to be a key member of the team.
Engineer - Design, Testing & Simulation
Nathan’s professional experience with machinery and engineering began in 1996 as a young apprentice fitter and machinist. His fascination with the technical aspects of his work, and a curiosity about the way machines work peaked his enthusiasm to further his studies, and he embarked on a Bachelor of mechanical Engineering.
With a particular interest in vehicle design, Nathan’s knowledge – at both a practical and an concept innovation level – has made him a valuable member of the Smedley team and an important contributor to the company’s extensive knowledge base.
Engineer - Design, Testing & Simulation
Inspired by the practical applications of maths and science in the automotive field, Darcy’s interest naturally pointed him into the engineering field, pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering, from which he graduated with honours. A keen student of all things innovative, solid work ethic, a curious mind, and an adaptable approach to new ideas it was just the start of a career which would transpire into a growing list of experiences and achievements to come.
Darcy joined the Smedley’s Engineers team in 2021, after completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering (Honours) at RMIT University. He also undertook an internship with Garry Rogers Motorsport, while completing his studies. Over the past few years, he has been able to quickly establish himself as an integral part of our team working as an engineer in our design, testing and simulation department. His areas of expertise centres around FEA, in-field vehicle data acquisition, swept path analysis and engineering drawings where he has had a lot of exposure and involvement in several projects. A list of Darcy’s work to date has been summarised in the CV made available. Darcy has undoubtedly advanced from a graduate engineer position to one of our seasoned and knowledgeable engineers not only within the business but the diverse fields covering, automotive, infrastructure and general engineering.
Engineer - Design, Testing & Simulation
Engineer - Design, Testing & Simulation
Simon’s heritage takes us back to Turkey, a beautiful part of the world where he grew up. Simon completed his studies at Istanbul Technical University majoring in Naval Architecture. Notable achievements and participations which followed includes taking part in a student team building a Carbon Fiber Solar Panel boat – as part of the University; Simon and his project team built the boat in Turkey before having it shipped to compete in the US. The boat proved to be a strong contender taking out first place in the race amongst all other international competitors. Additionally, Simon also participated in an academic competition relating to submarines which he placed second with his Master Thesis. From here Simon's career started to unfold from obtaining his first role after graduation he worked for a start-up ship building company which focused on submersibles; here he was responsible for the computational fluid dynamics with exposure to design and Solid works across 3 years. After his time at the start-up, he then went on to work for a heavy industrial company which built tractors, transmissions and engines where he spent another 3 years taking care of all aspects relating to Finite Element Analysis (FEA).
In 2019 a new chapter was about to begin unintentionally timed just before the unexpected events which unfolded during the COVID pandemic. Simon and his partner left Turkey seeking out better opportunities abroad. He now proudly calls Melbourne, Australia home and from here he was able to secure a job working in a versatile position that switched between the office and field base for a boat building company producing fiberglass products for a couple of years until he secured himself a position elsewhere which was more aligned to his expertise. This is where Smedley’s Engineers comes into the picture, with Simon’s experience in FEA and his desire to broaden his skillsets, Smedley’s Engineers as a consultancy offers a broad range of diverse opportunities. He is now primarily responsible for FEA and has had some exposure working alongside various projects plus other aspects of engineering including obtaining and analysing drawings and dabbling in testing RFS and design which keeps his mind stimulated for more.
During his spare time, Simon enjoys playing soccer and going on adventurous road trips with his partner around Australia, he looks forward to discovering more of what this country has to offer.
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108 - 110 Highett Street, Richmond, VIC 3121