I am a Professional Engineer, holding a BE(Hons) 1st Class and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. I have worked in industry as a Development Engineer/Scientific Modeler, Consultant, Product Designer and Fabricator.
I am an award winning communicator, who enjoys working in a team, but equally can self-motivate and self-direct as is the nature of completing a PhD.
I have experience in a number of computer programming languages and am most proficient with Python.
I love teaching and being an integral part of passing on what I was fortunate enough to learn from other excellent teachers.
I have a strong sense of integrity and strong interest in ethical practice in all my pursuits, both professionally and recreationally.
But don't just take my word for it, see what others say about me here.
Below you will find out a bit about my experience and specifically the skills I developed and used in my work and education. You can also find a list of my publications, should any of these be of interest.
Physical System Modelling
Development Engineer FIT-EV Ltd
2020 - Present
In January 2020 my former PhD supervisors were approached by the three founders of FIT-EV Ltd, looking for an individual competent in scientific modelling and simulation. Thanks to the recommendation of my supervisors and the shear luck that I had finished my PhD studies the month prior, I became employee number one at FIT-EV. FIT-EV is a startup current split between New Zealand and the United Kingdom, developing novel electric vehicle systems for network based applications, the likes of urban public transport.
Specifically, I am FIT-EV's Development Engineer, with the following responsibilities:
Create Physical System Models of a novel electric vehicle technology for urban public transport. This involves designing, developing, implementing, testing and documenting a software based (Python) model.
Run model based scenarios to analyse system behaviour, enabling optimisation of vehicle performance, quantification of energy demand and identification of necessary system component ratings.
University of Canterbury Mechanical Engineering Teaching Assistant/Academic Tutor.
2015 - 2019
During my post graduate study towards a Doctorate of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering, I worked as an academic tutor for the Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics Departments. This involved the following responsibilities:
Creating course content, including:
Tutorial questions/problems and solution sets.
Supplementary lecturing notes.
I loved the opportunity to teach, since it carried the added benefit of solidifying my own knowledge of course content. I took my Teaching Assistant roles very seriously, only accepting requests from Professors if I knew I could dedicate the time necessary to serve the students well.
During my own years of education and in employment, I, like many others, operated on a Performance Goal approach to learning. A Performance Goal mindset promotes competition among peers and limits learning potential through a fear of failure mentality.
In contrast to the Performance Goal approach, I now foster a Learning Goal mindset in my own work ethic and with students I tutor. The Learning Goal approach is open to periods of confusion, failure, and discomfort as part of the longer term mastery of a particular skill or subject area.
Graduate Mechanical Engineer at Beca.
2014 - 2015
After graduating from the University of Canterbury with a degree in Mechanical Engineering with First Class Honours (BE Hons), I worked at Beca in the Christchurch Building Services team. The February 2011 Earthquake devastated the Christchurch City Centre, but by the time I was working at Beca, the design and rebuild of the city was in full swing. It felt fantastic to be contributing to the cities rebuild and offered me opportunities on many different projects, to name but a few:
Christchurch Hospital - the Acute Services Building
CPIT (now known as the Ara Institute) - creation of new and refurbished learning spaces
Burwood Hospital - energy modelling
The Crossing Shopping Centre - mixed ventilation design for the car park building
Lyttelton School Development
A highlight project would be The Crossing Car park on Lichfield St in Christchurch. I worked closely with the architects to ensure their facade design enabled sufficient natural ventilation, minimizing the amount of mechanical extraction necessary and thus reducing energy consumption.
Intern Fabricator at Alec Farrar Ltd.
In the summer of 2012-2013, I worked as a fabricator for Alec Farrar Ltd. Alec Farrar Ltd provides precision engineering solutions and manufacture. The company has a long history beginning in 1931 and since this time it has continued to provide a variety of manufacture techniques and post-manufacture solutions.
I mainly worked constructing the vast array of SAFA toolboxes. This experience taught me an abundance about fabrication and gave me experience using many different manufacturing techniques, including:
Sheet metal fabrication
Foundry mould making and casting
This work experience was to fulfil the University of Canterbury Bachelors of Engineering Hons. Practical Work Experience Requirements. I was fortunate to work closesly with Peter, who had over 40 years experience with SAFA and taught me a lot practical skills not covered in the professional engineering degree.
Intern Weapons Engineer at Hardy Rifle.
I was extremely fortunate to work at Hardy Engineering (now Hardy Rifle) as a summer intern in 2011-2012. At this time, Hardy Engineering had 3 employees including the owner operator Dan Hardy. At that time the company mainly focused on designing and manufacturing high quality firearm suppressors for recreational and law enforcement/military use. The company was in a period of rapid growth and Dan wanted to expand its product line to include aftermarket firearms components and complete custom firearms.
Thus, I was hired to design numerous firearm components using CAD software. Working closely with Dan, I designed and then developed manufacturing drawings for the first generation of prototype:
Rifle bolts (and shroud)
This opportunity let me hone my CAD skills and better understand important aspects of design for manufacture. More over, it marked the first time I was designing highly engineered products for mass production and sale, a very exciting experience as an undergraduate engineer.
Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Mechanical Engineering
University of Canterbury
2015 - 2019
A 4 year scholarship generously provided by MedTech CoRE enabled me to complete a PhD specialising in bio-mechanical engineering, specifically cardiovascular modelling. My thesis is titled:
"Model-Based Arterial Flow and Stroke Volume Estimation for Hemodynamic Monitoring in a Critical Care Environment."
In a nutshell, my thesis develops a clinically applicable, minimally invasive method of measuring stroke volume. Stroke volume is the volume of blood your heart ejects with each heart beat.
In many engineering applications, the three-dimensional nature of a fluids volume makes it more difficult to measure than the fluids pressure. However, pressure and volume are interdependent, their relationship described by the properties of the system, for example fluid density and vessel elastance/stiffness, etc. In a clinical setting, pressure is easily and frequently measured. Thus, my thesis focuses on developing and implementing a mathematical model that describes enough of the system properties to be accurate, but not so many as to be too complex to be implemented in a clinical setting.
In order to achieve the goals of my PhD, I developed and implemented more than 50 different functions, most of which were in Python. Many of the functions I developed were novel algorithms designed to perform tasks like:
Data management (I dealt with hundreds of hours of all sorts of different medical signals)
Format conversion and data structuring
Data separation (separating the data into more manageable medical events)
Systole and Diastole detection (start and end of a cardiac cycle in different metrics)
Problem and model definition
Developing and implementing necessary data pre-processing
Parameter identification and optimization
Model performance validation
Thus, to complete my PhD I developed and honed the following skills on a daily basis:
If you are interested in learning more, the abstract of my thesis provides an overview of my work.
BE(Hons) 1st Class, University of Canterbury
2010 - 2013
In 2010, I left the whānau fold and my life in the North Island, to pursue a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury. This 4 year degree was a monumental challenge for me, requiring a high level of self motivation. My curiosity and love of learning coupled with a supportive family, helped me to overcome the challenges and complete the degree with 1st Class Honours.
Mechanical engineering is a fantastic discipline thanks to its ever expanding breadth, encompassing any and all dynamic systems. Thus, the degree itself is incredibly broad, but also accredited by Engineering New Zealand, ensuring all graduates have developed the skills necessary for industry and the future.
Balmer, J, Pretty, C, Davidson, S, Mehta-Wilson, T, Desaive, T, Smith, R, Shaw, GM, Chase, JG, "Clinically
applicable model-based method, for physiologically accurate flow waveform and stroke volume estimation" (2019) Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine.
Balmer J, Smith R, Pretty C, Desaive T, Shaw GM, Chase JG, “Accurate end systole detection in dicrotic
notch-less arterial pressure waveforms.” (2019) [Under Review]
Balmer, J, Pretty, C, Davidson, S, Desaive, T, Kamoi, S, Pironet, A, Morimont, P, Janssen, N, Lambermont, B,
Shaw, GM, Chase, JG, "Pre-ejection period, the reason why the electrocardiogram Q-wave is an unreliable indicator of pulse wave initialization" (2018) Journal of Physiological Measurement.
Davidson, S, Pretty, C, Balmer, J, Desaive, T, Chase, JG, "Blood pressure waveform contour analysis for
assessing peripheral resistance changes in sepsis" (2018) Biomedical Engineering Online.
Kamoi, S, Pretty, C, Balmer, J, Davidson, S, Pironet, A, Desaive, T, Shaw, GM, Chase, JG, "Improved
pressure contour analysis for estimating cardiac stroke volume using pulse wave velocity measurement" (2017) Biomedical Engineering Online.
Davidson, S, Pretty, C, Pironet, A, Kamoi, S, Balmer, J, Desaive, T, Chase, JG, "Minimally invasive, patient
specific, beat-by-beat estimation of left ventricular time varying elastance" (2017) Biomedical Engineering Online.
Khan, M, Pretty, C, Amies, A, Balmer, J, Banna, H, Shaw, GM, Chase, JG, "Proof of concept non-invasive
estimation of peripheral venous oxygen saturation" (2017) Biomedical Engineering Online.
Balmer, J, Pretty, C, Davidson, S, Desaive, T, Habran, S, Chase, JG, "Effect of arterial pressure measurement
location on pulse contour stroke volume estimation , during a rapid change in hemodynamic state" (2018) 10th IFAC Symposium on Biological and Medical Systems BMS São Paulo, Brazil, 3–5 September 2018 (invited and Winner of Young Author Award)
Balmer, J, Pretty, C, Amies, A, Desaive, T, Chase, JG, "Accurate dicrotic notch detection using adaptive
shear transforms" (2018) 10th IFAC Symposium on Biological and Medical Systems BMS São Paulo, Brazil, 3–5 September 2018 (invited)
Davidson, SM, Balmer, J, Pretty, C, Desaive, T, Chase, JG, "A Simplified Waveform Energetics Approach to
Interpreting Arterial and Venous Pressure" (2018) 10th IFAC Symposium on Biological and Medical Systems BMS São Paulo, Brazil, 3–5 September 2018 (invited)
Davidson, SM, Pretty, C, Balmer, J, Desaive, T, Chase, JG, "An Investigation into the Clinical Utility of
Transfer Functions between the Aortic and Femoral Pressure Waveforms" (2018) 10th IFAC Symposium on Biological and Medical Systems BMS São Paulo, Brazil, 3–5 September 2018 (invited)
Balmer, J, Pretty, C, Kamoi, S, Davidson, S, Pironet, A, Desaive, T, Shaw, GM, Chase, JG,
"Electrocardiogram R-wave is an Unreliable Indicator of Pulse Wave Initialization" (2018) 20th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC), 9-14 July 2017 (invited)
Davidson, SM, Pretty, C, Kamoi, S, Balmer, J, Desaive, T, Chase, JG, "Real-Time, Minimally Invasive, Beat-to-
Beat Estimation of End-Systolic Volume Using a Modified End-Systolic Pressure-Volume Relation" (2017) 20th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC), 9-14 July 2017 (invited)
Community Justice Panel
2016 - 2017
During 2016 and 2017 I volunteered for the Community Justice Panel, a initiative designed to reduce criminal convictions and reoffence within the Christchurch community.
In this role, I along with two others, sat on the panel representing the community. The panel would listen to the accounts of a victim and a defendant regarding a low-level crime/offence that had been committed. There was still a police representative present, but they were forbidden to speak unless they were asked to clarify a particular piece of evidence by a panel member. The panel, in conjunction with the victim and defendant, would then come to a legal and binding agreement regarding a resolution to the offence. This agreement, if fulfilled by all parties involved, would mean the matter would not proceed to the courts, thus avoiding any criminal convictions.
What differentiated the panel from a court room was the lack of lawyers, legal formality and therefore intimidation. More importantly, the panel prioritized additional time and emphasis to hearing the wider circumstances of the individuals involved. Often, where a first or low-level offence is concerned, there may be exceptional circumstances that initially appear external to the event, but none the less have contributed to a offence in a more subtle way. By hearing and addressing the wider needs of all those involved, it is hoped a more holistic resolution could be developed which considered the the complex needs of each case and individual.
The panel was an exceptional experience to be apart of, opening my eyes to extremely complex situations and helping me relate to people from an exceptionally wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. I feel proud to have been apart of the program and it was a privileged to hear peoples stories.