Department of Engineering Science

Elke Powell

Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Engineering Science (2004)

Photograph of Elke Powell

Systems and Modelling Engineer (2013)
Opus International Consultants

Entrepeneur (2013)
Fast Fibres


In early 2004 upon finishing my Eng Sci degree I set off for the USA. Armed with the essential skills of decision making and the ability to adapt and learn quickly, I set up my own business in the electrical manufacturing industry. A year filled with challenges and rewards saw the business off the ground and successfully sold; freeing up time for travel and the great outdoors.

Landing back in the sunny Bay of Plenty, NZ after two years of overseas adventure, I was ready to trade mountain peaks for surf breaks. Employed by a leading international engineering consultancy; Opus International Consultants, I started as a member of a road asset management team managing the Western Bay of Plenty road network. Asset Management is a field I never imagined myself in, and there is little glamour in managing the life of an asset after construction, but with state owned assets in New Zealand alone valued at over $210 billion, it is a vital task! With my ESci skills bolstered by a Masters in Pavements, I was soon fast tracked into pavement performance modelling, both developing and implementing optimisation models throughout New Zealand and the world. In addition to my Opus position; I was recently appointed a national role as Technical Manager of a government owned company called Infrastructure Decision Support (IDS) with the aim of improving sustainability of publicly owned infrastructure in New Zealand.

On the entrepreneurial front, my husband and I recently set up our composite manufacturing company Fast Fibres. We are currently neck deep in product development after a big effort last year exporting two 32 foot, carbon racing trimarans to Australia. With work, business, two kids and an unrelenting need for outdoor adrenalin, there are never enough hours in the day but if there is one thing I took away from my ESci days, efficiency is the key; do less, do it better and enjoy life on the way.