Photo: CHEMMAT alumni Dr Farzam Shahni


Dr Farzam Shahni completed comprehensive research in control and automation with a specialization in process monitoring. His research was an industrial project in the Industrial Information and Control Centre (I2C2) at the University of Auckland. Farzam developed and established a novel method to evaluate the performance of industrial control loops. His heuristic algorithm estimates the PID performance benchmark with fast calculation time with limited process information. This method detects faulty control loops over thousands of loops used for online monitoring of large-scale plants. His proposed method has been assessed by simulations and validated by industrial applications. The method is a data-driven approach with no need to disrupt the process.


Farzam received a precious award from the International Society of Automation (ISA) for his contribution in the field of automation and control and he has over 14 years of work experience in the industry mainly focused on engineering team leadership, control and automation design. In the last 7 years, he has worked and collaborated with industries inside New Zealand like Fonterra, Energy, Water and Wastewater industry and Auckland Port. Farzam also runs his own company “Automatix Ltd” focused on automation and control technology. One of his main future goals is to expand his business driven by his novel engineering methodology conducted during his PhD research.


Thanks to Emeritus Professor John Chen, other CHEMMAT alumni updates are:

Ellie McBurney, ca. 2018

Photo: Ellie McBurney

Ellie McBurney worked for Beca as an Assistant Project Manager after graduation. In 2020, she embarked on an MSc in Water Science and Management at the University of Oxford.

Ian Mardon, ca. 2017

Photo: Ian Mardon, ca. 2017

NASF: National Association for Surface Finishing (USA)


Sarah Blyde, ca. 2015

Photo: Sarah Blyde

After graduation, Sarah Blyde worked for Woodside Energy. She obtained a Masters in Space Studies (Cum Laude) from the International Space University(2019-2020). She is now Manufacturing Data Administrator at Rocket Lab.

An Interview with Sarah Blyde (February 22, 2021):

“An interview with Sarah Blyde, Manufacturing Data Administrator at Rocket Lab.  Sarah has a Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland, and a Masters of Space Studies from the International Space University.  She volunteers for Rocket Women, an international organization working to inspire the next generation of young women to pursue careers in STEM. In addition, Sarah is one of two National Points of Contact in New Zealand for the Space Generation Advisory Council, a global non-profit organization and network which aims to represent university students and young space professionals to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia. In this interview, we talk about Sarah’s personal journey from NZ to the world and back in pursuit of her space career, and how she is helping grow the space community in New Zealand now that she is back.”


Wan Ri Ho, ca. 2015

Photo: Wan Ri Ho

Wan Ri completed her MPhil at Cambridge University with distinction in Industrial Systems Manufacture Management.

She is now a Research Associate and doing her PhD at ETH Zurich on a project Eur3ka funded by the EU Horizon 2020 (Focusing on repurposing for manufacturing companies in response to future pandemics).


Richard J-Y Park, ca. 2015

Photo: Richard J-Y Park

Richard J-Y Park went to MIT, Cambridge, and is now approaching the end of his PhD. Some of his PhD research results have just been published (15 March 2021) in Nature Energy. Nature Energy is a very high impact journal with an Impact Factor of 46.5!

Hayden Porter, ca. 2013

Celebrating Engineers Week 2021: Jacobs Teammates Challenging Today, Reinventing Tomorrow (19 February 2021)

Process engineer Hayden Porter recently relocated from Jacobs’ Vancouver office to join Jacobs’ water team in New Zealand. He’s working on projects like the Central Interceptor in Auckland and odour treatment efforts in Christchurch. His favourite part of the role, he says, is working with great people on challenging projects that have a positive impact on people and the environment.


Narik Basmajian, ca. 2000

Photo: Narik Basmajian, ca. 2000

From January 2021, Narik Basmajian is the Vice President, Hydrogen Product Line, Technip Energies, based in Paris, Île-de-France, France. Narik has been with Technip since completing his degree (except for a year or so, 2011-2012, with Crescent Petroleum Company UAE).


Reghan Hill, ca. 1995

Photo: Dr Reghan Hill

Dr Reghan Hill completed his PhD at Cornell University(1999) followed by two years as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University – all in chemical engineering. In 2002, he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at McGill University where he is now Associate Professor. Reghan is an expert in colloids, nonlinear hydrodynamics, computational fluid mechanics,…too many to list. Reghan publishes in the very top journals including Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, Langmuir, Lab on a Chip, Macromolecules, etc. His papers are highly cited.


Dr Tom Honeyands, ca. 1989

Photo: Tom Honeyands

Dr Tom Honeyands worked for BHP after graduation and in 2015 he joined the School of Engineering at the University of Newcastle, Australia, where he is now an Associate Professor.




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