Kirsten Naidoo: “achieving the impossible”

By Ilana Koegelenberg

After setting his sights on becoming an HVAC consultant, Kirsten Naidoo did everything he could (and everything it took) to make his dreams a reality.

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Kirsten Naidoo, mechanical engineer at Aurecon.
Image credit: Kirsten Naidoo

Naidoo works at Aurecon as mechanical engineer, where he is responsible for things like doing heat load calculations, equipment selections, project management, as well as getting involved with client engagement and offering multidisciplinary interaction on a regular basis.

Getting started

After completing his BSc Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Naidoo had trouble finding a job in his field. As such, he joined the Standard Bank graduate programme, determined to start somewhere.

He spent the next year working on innovative building projects, discovering a flair for the building services field. One of the aspects in the buildings field he was exposed to, was HVAC and that is when he decided he wanted to become an HVAC consultant. “In my spare time, I did a lot of research and studying in this field to prepare myself for becoming an HVAC consultant,” he explains.

He eventually applied to Aurecon for an energy modelling position and was called in for an interview. In the interview, he was given an opportunity to show off some of the HVAC knowledge he had gained during his personal research and studying. “I must have impressed the management because soon after that I was offered a different position as project HVAC engineer.”

And the rest is history …


So what attracted Naidoo to this industry in particular with such determination? “Thermodynamics and fluid dynamics, which play a huge role in the HVAC industry, were my favourite subjects at university,” he explains. “I enjoy psychrometrics, problem solving, and people engagement. Being an HVAC consultant allows me to use all these aforementioned skills in my day to day life.”

For the love of the job

Naidoo thoroughly enjoys what he does as he gets to be involved in detailed design as well as manage projects from a high level. Engaging with clients, architects, and engineers from other disciplines is also something he finds exciting. “My favourite part would definitely be solving problems under intense pressure.”

What motivates him? “Achieving the impossible.”

Future plans

“I see my future to be an extreme adventure because I still have a great deal to learn in the mechanical engineering field, as well as in business management skills.”

In the near future, he plans to complete his registration as a professional mechanical engineer. He also has plans to complete his master’s degree in the building sector, with his sights set on an MBA eventually. Long term, he would like to work towards an opportunity to empower others with the skills that he has.


Although Naidoo is only getting started in his career, he has worked on many different types of systems, including chilled water, DX splits, and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems. He has already been involved in a variety of projects across the continent, including: Kampala Hospital (Uganda); the University of Mpumalanga; West Hills Mall (Ghana); and the new sight eye clinic in Congo.

Click here to read the September 2018 issue of RACA Journal

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