The SAIEE annually awards the most outstanding young achiever of the year in the field of Electrical/Electronic engineering. What counts in this person’s favour is their spirit of achievement, creativity and leadership in the workplace. Innovative, entrepreneurial actions and an infectious enthusiasm for success are the qualities exhibited by Young Achievers.

The 2019 winner is Michelle Govender, presently OT Cyber Security Engineer & Culture Transformation leader at ESKOM SOC Holdings Ltd.  The award was presented at the SAIEE Annual Awards function on 28 November 2019 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Michelle is a changemaker and driver. She believes that we have the advantage of leap frogging the African continent through the use of technology advancement.  Michelle started her career as an Electrical Engineer in the transmission and distribution technology business as a substation technology engineer.  It was here that she was exposed to computer networks monitoring and controlling the substation environment. She later became passionate about securing these computer networks and environments which is where her passion for cybersecurity for industrial control systems was born. Michelle later transitioned to Operational Technology (OT) also known as Industrial control systems cybersecurity. She leads teams in risk management as per the ISO 3100 methodology, security architecture, security strategy, security policy and standards development and facilitation of cyber security training to engineers, technicians and engineering leadership.

Michelle is one of the first South African females to assess a nuclear power plant cybersecurity posture and has been awarded the opportunity to attend a workshop on securing plant containing radioactive material in London, UK.  Govender is a force to be reckoned with as an Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) registered engineer and cybersecurity specialist for the World Bank-CIGRE African Utilities Initiative. She also serves an advisor for the Electricity Power Research Institute (EPRI) and as a member of the SABS SC 27 Technical Committee. Govender is passionate about connecting the youth with the engineering industry and is currently working on an initiative to connect aspiring founding engineers who are keen to start their businesses with South African engineers and CEOs.

Appearing in the photo from L to R: Michelle Govender, George Debbo (SAIEE), Adolf Erasmus, CFO (SGB-SMIT POWER MATLA) and Sicelo Xulu, CEO (SAIEE).