Student makes it sow

A DEAKIN University graduate is helping to transform a Winchelsea firm into one of the country’s leading agricultural equipment manufacturing businesses.

Jason Chan, 26, is originally from Malaysia and joined Knuckey’s Engineering in 2016 while completing his Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) degree as an international student.

Mr Chan has applied his expertise as a mechanical design engineer to servicing, repairing and designing custom equipment and agricultural machinery. With his help, the company — which spans four generations — has grown rapidly and is now looking to expand its export operations, and add to its manufacturing sites in southwest Victoria.

“I am working on cuttingedge machinery that’s set to improve the way farmers do their work both in Australia and around the world,” Mr Chan said.

Knuckey’s Engineering manufacturing manager Steve Knuckey said Mr Chan was a highly-regarded member of the business and the local community.

“Jason has been integral in our development of new products, which has kept us viable. His insight and knowledge of product development have allowed the business to grow our product offerings,” Mr Knuckey said.

Mr Knuckey said Mr Chan designed the Accu-sow Air Seeder, which won the Weekly Times’ Machine of the Year award last October.

“The machine is a sowing system for broadacre cropping that achieves high-precision farming, giving precise control over a variety of crops, including depth control, spacing and precision seeding,” Mr Knuckey said.

Deakin vice-chancellor Professor Iain Martin said Mr Chan’s story was a prime example of connecting Deakin’s international, industry and STEM smarts with regional business.

“It’s heartening to see Jason having such a strong impact in Victoria’s regions,” Prof Martin said. “We know international students and graduates contribute enormously to the social and cultural wellbeing of communities in Victoria and across Australia. At Deakin, we’re doing everything we can to support international students and ensure the important role of international education is buoyed during these challenging times.”

Article by Tamara McDonald