Dave Monaghan

Dave Monaghan

Alumni career story

CEO - Bandicoot Imaging Sciences

BSc (Hons), PhD – UNSW Science

A bit about me:

I grew up on a dairy farm, studied physics at UNSW and have worked for over twenty years leading research and development of consumer relevant imaging technologies. My first job was with a biotech start-up writing software (despite failing Computing 1), and I am currently CEO for a start-up that digitises fabrics for the fashion industry.

I am passionate about seizing every opportunity to learn and be innovative and believe that if you know how to approach and solve problems, then you are qualified for a wide range of different jobs and will have an amazing career.  

Quick-fire Q&A:

Do you have a favourite quote or mantra?

It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger. My 10-year-old daughter made me a poster of this for my office - it’s awesome.

What are you currently reading/listening to?

Reading Ray Bradbury, listening to Ben Folds. Occasionally at the same time.

What recent habit(s) has improved or changed your life? 

Ultra-trail running. Challenges both the body and the mind. It keeps you fit too.

What was your most memorable experience from your time at UNSW?  

3rd year physics lab, I think we were measuring the spin moment of the electron. Three students, two large static magnets and a loose screwdriver. What could possibly go wrong? Maybe you had to be there, but we learnt a lot and had a lot of laughs in that lab.

How did your time at UNSW help shape who you are today?

On campus you meet a lot of people with differing outlooks on life. At UNSW I learnt to appreciate and embrace diversity, to be more accepting of people and, most importantly, to sometimes just shut up and listen to other opinions. 

What do you enjoy most about working in your profession?

The opportunity to work with talented, passionate people who have unbridled enthusiasm for creating new knowledge. Having access to the resources required to enable new technologies to be researched, developed, and deployed into products and services that make a difference. But mostly the people - they are amazing.

How do you remain resilient in your line of work?

I think it is ensuring I am surrounded by like-minded people who can see the positives of what is trying to be achieved. As long as I know I can maintain honest and transparent communication with my colleagues, I can pull through anything. 

What advice would you give a student approaching the end of their degree? 

To truly appreciate what you’ve learnt. Not so much the specifics (though they come in handy from time to time), but rather the discipline of problem solving itself. Be open-minded to the opportunities this affords you, since this valuable skill will take you on an amazing journey.

Why is science important?

It provides the framework that we can rely on to sate our appetite for knowledge. Whether it be understanding the sub-atomic, the environment we live in, or the cosmos, through application of scientific principles we can derive new knowledge, share that knowledge, and allow others to build and improve on it. On a personal note, science underpins the way I understand the world.