Meet Desh

Previously working for another engineering consultancy, Deshitha Senanayake joined Tonkin’s Local Government team in Adelaide in 2019 as a Senior Engineer.

Local Government is Tonkin’s largest client category, so there’s no shortage of projects on the go across public realm, transport, water, waste and asset management. Tonkin’s variety of projects and opportunities for growth were two of the key reasons Desh was keen to join us.

“I decided to join Tonkin Tonkin because I needed new challenges and a change of scenery. I had also heard what the culture was like at Tonkin and I was excited about Tonkin’s projects, so it was an easy decision for me.”


“When I joined Tonkin I was looking to develop my technical skills, and the company has provided that in spades. I’ve been given opportunities to work on some really significant projects and being involved in those kind of projects has really allowed me to grow in the direction I wanted to grow, which was my technical skills. Tonkin has been providing growth opportunities for me from day one.”

Motivation at work

We asked Desh what gets him motivated at work, and he did a great job of summing up the fundamentals of motivation and how the work environment at Tonkin ticks those boxes:

“I read an article recently about the key aspects of motivation being autonomy, mastery and purpose – and those things are embedded in what we do here.”

“We’re given the autonomy we need to run our own projects, but that doesn’t mean we have to do everything ourselves. When we’re facing something challenging, there’s always a good support network to ask questions, and that allows us to learn new things – the mastery aspect. And there’s always a good purpose behind our projects, especially in the Local Government space. To be able to see a project once it’s completed, the satisfaction that it brings to the wider community and our clients, that’s what it’s all about.”


Mid-career work-life balance

Tonkin offers employer-funded paid parental leave in addition to Government parental leave provisions, so recently when Desh became a first-time dad, that was a welcome benefit for him and his young family. Desh took some time off work so he could focus on family when his son was born, and he also plans to take additional parental leave to care for his son when his partner returns to work.

“I find the work-life balance at Tonkin to be absolutely great. I’m now a father to a baby boy, and so work-life balance for me is a quite different to what it was before I became a dad. That’s the great thing about Tonkin; work-life balance is different for everyone depending on your circumstances, and Tonkin is very accommodating.”


Sustainable infrastructure

Now more than ever, sustainability is becoming a fundamental consideration in infrastructure projects. We asked Desh to tell us what sustainability looks like in his projects.

“We are living in a world where resources are finite and as the world population grows, we have to keep finding ways to be smarter about how we live in this world. For me personally, I’m involved in pavement rehabilitation designs, where we try to re-use existing road pavements, instead of digging up failing pavements and completely starting from scratch. There are several more sustainable options that can be investigated, such as rehabilitation and stablisation. This is just one example of an area where we’re helping to educate our clients to re-use materials in a more sustainable way.”

We wrapped-up by asking Desh what he would say if someone asked him why they should come work at Tonkin:

“If someone asked me why they should work at Tonkin, I would say it’s the range of experiences that they’ll get. They’ll work on some really challenging projects that may stretch them in ways that they didn’t know they could be stretched, but at the same time, they’ll have a wonderful support network. Also, the fun atmosphere – we are serious about what we do, but we also know how to have a great time.”


Are you a mid-level or senior engineer looking for an organisation that can provide new challenges, while also offering work-life balance?
View Tonkin’s current opportunities or submit a general expression of interest today.