The two of us

Sateesh Challa (29) and Varun Chandra Gunna (34) are both engineers who have just started working on the EnergyConnect project, Australia’s largest transmission line project. They say it is pure coincidence they are from the same Indian state of Telugu. They are both working as quality coordinators for the project, and in search of a better life.

Varun Chandra Gunna

I am a mechanical engineer who has specialised in Marine ship building. My work has taken me around the world. I have worked in India, Singapore, China, and Brazil. I have worked mainly in the oil and gas sector. I am looking forward to working in the power sector where I can use my experience in a different industry.

I have been living in Australia for four years. Even though I am fluent in English, I found it difficult at first to understand what people were saying as Australians speak very quickly. I am used to it now. I wanted to live in either Australia or Canada. Australia offered me the skilled migration program and I thought Australia had a good climate.

As a quality assurance coordinator my role includes quality controls in construction and building and ensuring the project meets international standards.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I think Sateesh and I will be on this journey together, in the same team and forging a new career. There is a lot of knowledge we share.

Sateesh Challa

I came to Australia to complete my master’s in engineering in 2017. Initially, I thought I would return to India. My plans changed because I could see there was a better life for me in Australia. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.

I am an electrical engineer, and I was working for a company that designs cables. I was responsible for all the electrical testing on the cables. On the EnergyConnect project I will be working as a quality coordinator. One of the things I am really looking forward too is working on the substation equipment and engineering, procurement, and construction contracts.

For me working on the Buronga Substation, will be like being a kid in a lollie shop. Power generation is my thing. This substation is one of the largest substations in Australia. It will also be one of the most complex in the Southern Hemisphere for technology and engineering with equipment including two 120 MVA capacity synchronous condensers, five phase-shifting transformers, three power transformers and four shunt reactors. For an electrical engineer it doesn’t get any better than that.

I can’t wait to get started, to learn who helped procure this equipment and most importantly, what quality assurance processes are in place.

Photo: L to R Sateesh Challa and Varun Chandra Gunna


18 Jan, 2023