Awards celebrate excellence

WESTERN Australian engineers can look with pride at their numerous achievements, both in Australia and internationally.

But who are the best engineers and what are the best projects?

In the lead-up to Engineering Week, WA Business News partnered with Engineers Australia to survey the industry and identify the State’s engineering elite.

In this special report, Mark Beyer and Noel Dyson present the results of the engineering elite survey and profile some of the State’s best-known engineers.

It includes engineers who are world leaders and others who have taken Australia’s engineering expertise to the international market. These include recently retired Clough managing director Brian Hewitt, who helped the Perth-based company build its international profile in Asia and the Middle East.

Mr Hewitt also talks about the work he is doing, through bodies such as the National Infrastructure and Engineering Forum and the Industrial Supplies Office in WA, to help lift the ability of Australian industry to win work on major projects.

GHD’s John Phillips is another prominent engineer who helped an Australian company build a successful international business.

During his recently completed three-year stint as national chairman of GHD, the company achieved rapid growth and now operates in a dozen countries.

John McCowan, a consultant with DevMin, reflects on his years running Minproc, which started life in 1978 with an ill-fated vanadium project and went on to ride the gold boom of the 1980s.

The individuals nominated in the engineering elite survey reflect the diversity of the profession.

They range from senior executives and project managers at government agencies such as the Water Corporation and Main Roads through to specialists in WA’s hospitals and universities, such as UWA’s Professor Mark Bush.

This special report also includes an introduction to the projects that are finalists in the 2003 engineering excellence awards.

They range from infrastructure projects such as Roe Highway stage 4/5 and the Australian Marine Complex through to resource development projects like the Thunderbox gold project and the Victoria platform oil and gas development.

Other finalists include the innovative WA Maritime Museum at Fremantle, the European Space Agency antenna base building near New Norcia and the Australian Catamaran Challenge, featuring the world’s most technically advanced sailing technology.

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