Australia’s most influential engineers have been named in a special journal report which highlights the influence of top performing leaders across a range of spheres associated with the country’s engineering profession.
In its June edition, Engineers Australia Magazine has named its 2014 list of the Top 100 Most Influential Engineers, covering spheres such as academia/research, associations, community, contractors/services, consulting, industry, innovation, manufacturing, politics and public service and utilities.
This year’s list – the order of which does not represent any form of ranking – features eight new entrants, including Leighton Contractors managing director Craig Laslett, Laing O’Rourke Australian managing director Cathal O’Rourke, Boeing Australia & Pacific president Maureen Dougherty and Networks NSW (Ausgrid/Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy) chief executive officer Vince Graham.
It also contains some whose influence spans diverse fields. Renowned playwright artist David Williamson, a mechanical engineer who began his career as a design engineer at General Motors Holden and was a lecturer of thermodynamics and social psychology at Swinburne Technical College, is included.
While all those on the list share a commitment to excellence and contribution to the profession, the paths through which they work vary considerably.
Environmental engineer Lizzie Brown, for example, heads Engineers Without Borders Australia - part of a global humanitarian organisation dedicated to improving lives through engineering, technology and infrastructure.
Inspired by a 14-year-old student who responded with "no one said we couldn’t" when asked how he came to design a vehicle capable of covering 3,200 miles per gallon of fuel, meanwhile, mechanical engineer Dr Michael Myers OAM founded Re-Engineering Australia REA Foundation in an effort to encourage young Australians to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The release of the list comes amidst ongoing debate about how Australia can develop future leaders within the engineering profession.
Resolution Services founder David Chandler OAM recently raised concern about what he describes as a "declining status of engineering and the quality of engineering graduates," and suggested a number of steps the country could take in order to start to address this including a goal of tripling the number of students it graduates.
Of the top 100 named:
- 11 per cent were women
- 75 per cent were members of Engineers Australia
- 79 per cent graduated in Australia
- 43 per cent work in New South Wales, while 39 per cent graduated from that state – far more than any other state
- 35 per cent practice civil engineering, while 18 per cent each practice mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and other forms of engineering and 11 per cent practice chemical engineering.