Q&A Sep 20, 2023

Improving the World: A Q&A with Marco Meloni

In this Q&A, meet Marco Meloni, a Jacobs team member playing a key role in one of the most high-profile and game changing defense programs ever undertaken in Australia.

Q&A with Marco Meloni Jacobs Systems Engineer

Joining Jacobs in early 2015, Marco Meloni initially worked on Australian Department of Defence (Defence)’s AIR5431-3 project as the engineering team lead in Melbourne, delivering solutions in the joint Airservices Australia and Defence project team managing the replacement of Australia’s Defence Air Traffic System at 12 locations across the country. In 2019, he was promoted to Integration Engineering Manager, where he represented client interests and made a positive difference in a program of national significance and international relevance. As a result of his dedication and commitment, Marco was awarded a silver commendation recognizing his unfailing commitment to implementing a high level of discipline within engineering processes and always being willing to provide guidance and mentoring to both the Defence and Airservices Australia engineering team. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, he was appointed Chief Engineer of ADS Branch in early 2021.

In July 2023, Marco was also appointed to the Systems Engineering Society of Australia (SESA) Defence and Aerospace Domain lead role. We spoke to Marco to find out what his new appointment means for Jacobs, SESA and Defence.

Hi, Marco. Can you tell us how the work you do is helping solve our clients’ biggest challenges?

Defence has commenced work on one of the most complex and challenging programs in Australian Defence Force (ADF) history, one that seeks to transform the ADF’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) capability into a fully networked, fifth-generation force better able to protect its airspace, defense capability and critical national infrastructure. The IAMD capability will enable the ADF to operate independently as well as cooperatively with Australia’s allies.

As Chief Engineer, I provide functional leadership to the engineering team and contribute to executive and leadership decision making. As the engineering function lead within ADS Branch, I have a range of responsibilities including workforce design, test and evaluation, system certification, safety and security, industry engagement, tender evaluation, contract negotiations, and technical risk management.

ADS Branch is being presented with a range of challenges requiring a novel approach to systems engineering, including the system-of-systems nature of the IAMD capability, an agile project delivery methodology and the adoption of emerging technologies, such as hypersonic. My work helps support Defence to meet these challenges through creative consulting and advisory services and secure data solutions.

What do you hope to achieve as the SESA Defence and Aerospace Lead?

The SESA is a technical society of Engineers Australia and the Australian chapter of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). It is a great honor and privilege for me to be part of the SESA executive committee.

In my SESA appointment, I hope to apply my systems engineering knowledge and experience with ADS Branch to improve Jacobs’ delivery in line with the “CASG 2.0” model recently announced by the Deputy Secretary of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.

I also hope to position Australia as a key contributor to the INCOSE Vision 2035, a strategic adaptation plan for the global systems engineering community.

“Engineering is a great way to improve the world.”

Marco Meloni

Marco Meloni

Jacobs Systems Engineer

How will this benefit Jacobs and our clients?

Alignment with CASG 2.0 will enable us to better deliver solutions for our important defense clients. Systems engineering is a foundation of Jacobs’ key capabilities in Australia. My appointment is a conduit to the expertise of the SESA so there will be potential for our team members to access exciting professional development opportunities, including mentoring and training, and contribute to shaping the future of systems engineering in Australia. It is also a great opportunity for Jacobs to showcase the incredibly complex and innovative work our people are doing. My appointment will also enable ADS Branch to benefit from the experience and exposure I get in the role, allowing the Branch to adopt best practices more broadly.

What made you decide to become an engineer?

When I was a teenager I read an article in Focus, a popular Italian monthly science magazine. The article was about satellite-based remote sensing and the incredible technology used by remote sensing to fundamentally challenge the laws of physics. I was fascinated by this and decided to become a telecommunications engineer. 

What would you say to young people considering a career in engineering?

Engineering is a great way to improve the world: "Engineers create the world that never has been” to quote a famous engineer, Theodore von Kármán. In addition to the traditional STEAM study areas, I also recommend focusing on soft skills like communication, negotiation and teamwork, investing early in management training, and finding yourself a mentor.

About the interviewee

Marco Meloni

Marco Meloni is a passionate engineer with over 20 years’ experience in the field of engineering in both defense industry and government. Throughout his career, Marco has had direct leadership responsibility for the design and engineering assurance of mission-critical systems for medium and large projects in Australia and Europe.

Marco is passionate about modern and contemporary arts, design, fine wine, food and cooking. He is also an occasional tennis player and an avid international film festival lover.

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