Shonel Sonakjee

Transportation Engineer
BSc(Hons) Civil
Direct: +64 3 367 9013

About Shonel

Shonel is a Civil Engineer specialising in project management and transport engineering. She has worked in the consulting industry in both South Africa and New Zealand and uses her client-centred approach to deliver projects of varying size and schedules, and is comfortable working both autonomously and within a group. Her training in engineering and her work in the consulting industry has provided her with the skills to handle large sets of data, deliver projects to strict programmes, and maintain a level head from conception to completion of a task.

What Shonel has to say:

What made you decide to become a Transport Engineer?

Transport design and mobility became favourite subjects of mine during my bachelor’s degree, so it was an easy choice of specialisation following that. I love the idea of playing a part in the changing landscape of movement and using my passion for the environment to design in a way which increases both modal choice and safety of communities.

What did you do before joining Abley?

I worked in the consulting industry in South Africa in both the Airports and Rail sectors before moving to New Zealand. I have spent the last few years working on the NCTIR Recovery Works and within the engineering consulting industry.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Every project I work on is different and requires me to adapt and learn constantly– this keeps me from ever getting bored! I love that the work I do can have tangible positive effects for users.

What’s the most challenging thing about your job?

Keeping up to date with an ever-changing industry in terms of both technology and best practice and ensuring the needs of the job are balanced against longer term variables like environmental impact and evolving user profiles.

What’s been your career highlight so far?

I was fortunate enough to work on the NCTIR Recovery Works which helped reopen State Highway 1 after the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake. This project was both incredibly fulfilling and interesting due to the highly unique circumstances. It also afforded me the opportunity to work with experienced and talented individuals from all over New Zealand and the rest of the world. 

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Anything creative. I love reading, writing and painting. I also love exploring New Zealand and travelling overseas as often as I can manage.