Meet our Graduates – Thomas Larkin

Tom Larkin

When Thomas Larkin shared that he was “passionate about working collaboratively to solve some of the most complex challenges facing society today”, we knew he was right for our team. As systems engineers, the analysis of complex problems, the exploration of interrelationships and the challenge of finding and defining solutions is what we’re all about.

Thomas had worked with a member of our team (Thomas Watkins) five year’s prior, on an athlete tracking startup, and heard about our Graduate program through him. He joined Shoal as a Graduate Engineer in January 2021, to work with our Defence and Space team. Straight away, we introduced him to model based systems engineering work in the Space sector that sparked his interest. His first projects included:

  • Working alongside a major defence prime in the field of satellite communications
  • The CHORUS project, with an industry team coordinated through SmartSat CRC and involving a satellite hybrid optical and radio network in space.

His studies came into play immediately. At Australian National University, Thomas studied Engineering (Research & Development) and Arts, majoring in Renewable Energy systems and Digital Humanities. With such diversity across his subjects areas, Systems Engineering became a natural pursuit.

“I am interested in approaching engineering from an innovative, human-centred perspective where the needs of the end user are at the forefront of any design process,” says Thomas. “At Shoal, I can explore this further, both within company and client projects.”

Work opportunities at Shoal go beyond the day-to-day project work; Thomas is a keen participant in our regular Ideas Club sessions, where we introduce and workshop new ideas, and the careers fairs, where he can share early experiences of his career with students. He has recently taken on the co-ordination role of Ideas Club too.

In his brief time at Shoal so far, Thomas has embraced our social events – squash sessions, Shoal pub lunches – he is even exploring the possibility a Canberra-based board gaming group for Shoalers. In his personal time, Thomas also enjoys mountain biking, orchestral work in musical theatre and designing and fabricating 3D printed ceramics – maybe another opportunity for a Shoal event?

Thomas in the lab where he designs and prints 3D ceramic mugs.

For Thomas, working with Shoal provides opportunities to work with multidisciplinary teams consisting of multiple stakeholders. Early in his career development, this provides insight to a variety of roles.

So, what are the aspects of day-to-day work at Shoal that appeal to Thomas?

“It’s the variety, the responsibility and the learn-by-doing approach to client focused engineering,” he says.

What does Thomas envision for the future?

“Gaining more experience with projects and leading or managing projects is a goal,” he says. “Beyond just gaining more experience, I’d like to specialise in a technical area such as machine learning. It would also be great to be involved in Business Development and Horizon Scanning.”

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