The nation’s top engineers and engineering projects have been named at the 2023 Engineers Australia Excellence Awards - People & Projects held at a gala dinner in Melbourne last night.
Speaking at the event, Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew AO said the awards highlight the significant contribution engineers make to the community.
“Our 2023 people and project finalists are an outstanding field and exemplify the positive impact of the profession on so many facets of society. They are the innovators, changemakers, leaders and mentors for the next generation of engineers. Their work and its impact elevate the profession and raise its profile in the community, and with industry, government, and educators,” Ms Madew said.
The Engineers Australia Excellence Awards recognise the achievements of the engineering professionals and cutting-edge engineering projects driving Australia forward.
Boola Katitjin | Murdoch University by Aurecon (Western Australia)
Boola Katitjin exemplifies a perfect fusion of modern engineering and ecological stewardship, along with a focus on community service. Central to its design is student well-being, achieved through biophilic principles that connect occupants with nature. Features like wide views of the Beeliar wetlands and natural ventilation breezeways enhance this connection. The project, Western Australia’s first mass-engineered timber building, has garnered global recognition for promoting sustainable, renewable, and circular methods in construction, aiding in achieving net-zero carbon goals. The project's innovative use of mass-engineered timber has resulted in a spacious, column-free building, benefitting the community, and achieved through collaboration among academia, industry, and Indigenous groups. With a 6 Star Green design rating, it incorporates energy-efficient and water-conserving measures, and native landscaping. Incorporating robotics in construction and sourcing sustainable timber, Boola Katitjin is a triumph in sustainable construction.
Professional Engineer of the Year: Dr Mark Skanes (South Australia)
Dr Mark Skanes boasts a career spanning over four decades in leading and advising project and engineering teams across multiple industries such as defence, utilities, mining, manufacturing, rail, construction, sports, public service, and academia. His roles have included serving as a non-executive director in various organisations and mentoring in the prestigious Industry Mentoring Network in STEM program. Dr Skanes is a Chartered Professional Engineer and a renowned Engineers Australia Fellow. His contributions were recognised in 2019 with both the South Australian Premier’s Science Excellence Award and the AGM Michell Medal from Engineers Australia for his notable national impact in Mechanical Engineering.
Emerging Professional Engineer of the Year: Dr Hooman Mehdizadeh Rad (Northern Territory)
Dr. Hooman Mehdizadeh Rad, a mechanical engineering lecturer and course coordinator at Charles Darwin University, is dedicated to enhancing societal outcomes through his work in solar cell technology and zero-energy buildings. His research, bridging academia and industry, has been pivotal for policy development and manufacturing applications. An active member of various technical committees and the university's board, he has been instrumental in securing grants for advanced manufacturing facilities at the university. Chartered in mechanical engineering and project management, his primary research aims to improve environmental conditions in tropical cities, focusing on making Darwin and other Northern Territory areas cooler and greener, especially for vulnerable populations.
Engineering Associate of The Year: Robert Ladd (Victoria)
With a 25-year career in infrastructure delivery across Australia's east coast, Robert Ladd brings vast experience in managing public infrastructure in both public and private sectors. His expertise focuses on leading complex projects in the built environment, ensuring compliance with statutory obligations, and driving successful project outcomes. As a general manager in the Victorian public sector, Robert is known for his leadership skills and commitment to collaborative and supportive work environments. He emphasises shared success and providing team members with growth and development opportunities, reflecting his belief in the power of teamwork and inclusive leadership.
Emerging Engineering Associate of the Year: Laura Miranda (Queensland)
Laura Miranda’s passion for STEM was greatly influenced by her father, a process engineer. She began her engineering career in 2017 as a CAD Technician and soon after, in 2018, completed her associate degree in civil engineering. Following her move from Colombia, Miranda stepped into the role of an Infrastructure Designer. Her dedication to engineering extends beyond her professional duties. Miranda actively contributes to society through her work, educational pursuits, and by hosting a podcast with a global audience. She is a fervent advocate for engineering education, committed to promoting diversity and encouraging women to pursue careers in STEM.
Engineering Technologist of the Year: Daniel Bonatti (Newcastle)
Daniel Bonatti is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building, and a chartered building professional. He graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Construction Management Honours, with a University Medal, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Applied Leadership and Critical Thinking and a Master of Building Surveying. His dedication extends beyond his professional work, as evidenced by over twenty years of volunteering his skills and time in the engineering and building sectors through various not-for-profit organisations. He has a lifelong commitment to education and learning, culminating in a Master of Design Science in Building Services, and a Master of Business Administration.
Emerging Engineering Technologist of the Year: Jodie Kilpatrick (Queensland)
Jodie Kilpatrick has an Advanced Science Degree in Hydrology and Water Resources (Honours), postgraduate qualifications in metallurgy and engineering, and is currently pursuing a master’s in civil engineering. She has proven leadership skills in managing multi-disciplinary teams and excels in various areas from tailings facility operations to technical analysis and remedial design. Renowned for fostering meaningful workplace relationships and advocating for inclusion and diversity, her leadership builds and nurtures diverse, highly functional teams within the engineering sector.
Honorary Fellow appointment: Dr Geoffrey Boughton AM (West Australia)
Dr. Geoffrey Boughton AM, internationally recognised for his expertise in cyclone-resistant buildings and timber structures, has significantly contributed to improving standards in these fields with Standards Australia. His work encompasses consulting, training, and research, enhancing the safety of structures. Additionally, he is a notable volunteer contributor to Engineers Australia. A respected wind and timber engineer, Dr Broughton’s career is dedicated to strengthening building resilience against severe winds in Australia and the Pacific. His volunteer efforts with Australian Standards committees have been instrumental in maintaining community safety through building standards. His achievements are also featured in the Engineers Australia Centenary Book, "Anything is Possible," highlighting his impact on the engineering community.
Honorary Fellow appointment: Prof Qing-Long Han (Victoria)
Prof Qing-Long Han is a renowned academic and leader in network control and communications systems, with a significant global influence. He has received numerous accolades, including the 2021 Norbert Wiener Award and the 2021 M. A. Sargent Medal from Engineers Australia, and has made substantial contributions to engineering education and the profession's promotion. With over 30 years in research, Professor Han has innovated in networked control and multi-agent systems, notably impacting smart grid technologies. His academic influence is evident in his 627 high-quality papers, over 46,350 citations, and an h-index of 118, alongside notable industry contributions. As the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Quality) at Swinburne University of Technology, he exemplifies leadership in strategic development and research excellence.
Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal: Dianne Boddy (Victoria)
Dianne Boddy's remarkable 60-year career in engineering is marked by over 2000 designs and 40 international patents in areas like sheep shearing, food canning, and geotechnical testing. Starting her journey as a draftsperson in the late 1950s, she has not only been a trailblazer for women in engineering but also a dedicated community servant, holding multiple board positions. Born in 1933 and overcoming early personal challenges, including the loss of her father, and being raised by a single mother, Dianne attended Geelong Grammar. A true engineer, she created and produced her designs in her workshop. Her inventions, including mechanisms and machinery for processing plants, are still used globally. Dianne's distinguished engineering career and her extensive community service reflect her significant societal contributions.
President’s Prize: Paul Collier (Victoria)
As Chair of Engineers Australia's Civil College, Paul Collier displays outstanding leadership skills and innovative approaches. He has previously served as the Victorian Division President and is a member of the Board's Governance Committee. Under his leadership, the Civil College has embraced novel working methods, transitioning from a trial of three Board members to a seven-member Board. Paul's leadership style is characterised by attentive listening and an ability to address core issues without unnecessary criticism.
World Federation of Engineering Organisation Medal of Excellence in Engineering Education: Professor Sally Male (Victoria)
Prof Sally Male is Professor of Engineering and Technology Education, and Director of the Teaching and Learning Laboratory in the Faculty of Engineering and IT at the University of Melbourne. The Lab, established by Prof Male, is the first of its kind in Australia, guiding research-informed enhancements to teaching and learning. She collaborates closely with Engineers Australia, engineers, employers, the Australian Council of Engineering Deans, students, and universities, to achieve widespread, evidence-based advancements in engineering education and practice.
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