A gantry which made wrapping piles on a 4.2-kilometre long jetty in a tidal zone faster and safer, a warning system which provides on and off-site notification about the status of a flooded road and low-cost water treatment technologies which are also urban green infrastructure systems which can reduce local temperatures and increase biodiversity are among a range of initiatives which have earned those behind them the title of being one Australia’s most innovative engineers.

In its July edition, Engineers Australia’s create magazine has recognised 30 of what it says are Australia’s most innovative engineers.

Selected from more than 200 nominations, the 30 were selected across 10 different categories: building and construction; community; consulting; electronics and communications; general industry; manufacturing and automation; mining; oil & gas; research & academia; utilities; and young engineers.

In building and construction, for example, John Holland project manager Wes Johnson was recognised for his mobile swing-stag gantry which improved both the speed and safety with which piles were able to be wrapped on the 4.2-kilometre Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal near Mackay in Queensland.

This involved a set of proprietary swing stages which go up and down the piles suspended by a pair of beams which can swing in and out from under the jetty. This is supported by twin masts that can be raised and lowered to clear the deck, with the whole structure on wheels to move along the jetty.

In the community category, Logan City Council maintenance engineer Gregory Kelly was recognised for the development of a warning system which provides both on and off-site notifications about the status of flooded roads.

University of New South Wales Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Ana Deltaic was recognised for her role in the development of Green-Blue walls and other biofilters which reduce local temperatures as well as improving the biodiversity and amenity of urban areas.

Engineers Australia national president John McIntosh said Australian engineers are respected internationally for their innovation and inventiveness.

“Australian engineers are respected worldwide both for our ingenuity and persistence in making our solutions work,” he said. “We are the home, after all, of world famous inventions such as Wi-Fi and the black box flight recorder.”

McIntosh welcomed the fact that around 25 per cent of the finalists were women, saying the engineering profession was making a concerted effort to promote a more diverse workforce from a gender perspective.

Australia’s 30 Most Innovative Engineers

Building & Construction

  • Wes Johnston, John Holland, QLD, Mobile Swing-stage Gantry
  • Tony Lavorato, Aurecon, NSW, 5 Martin Place
  • Vito Trantino, McConnell Dowell, VIC, Marine Engineering Innovation


  • Ana Deletic, University of NSW, NSW, Green-Blue Walls
  • Gregory Kelly, Logan City Council, QLD, Flooded Roads Warning System
  • Andrew Woods, Curtin University, WA, Deep-water 3D Imaging System


  • Raj Kurup, Environmental Engineers International Pty Ltd, WA, Anammox process implementation
  • Stephen Logan, Aurecon, WA, Twin Duct HVAC System
  • Thomas Miller, SMEC Australia Pty Ltd, NSW, Novel foundations near tunnels

Electronics & Communications

  • Peter Abolfathi, HIA, NSW, Exoflex Hand Therapy Tool
  • Madhu Bhaskaran, RMIT University, VIC, Stretchable oxide electronics
  • Con Michael, Balconi Telecommunications, WA, The Balconi Smart Torch

General Industry

  • Adam Mitchell, AM-A, VIC, Spanda artwork
  • Craig Power, ISOL8 Pty Ltd, WA, iSOL8
  • Simon St Hill, Green Thermal Energy Technologies, VIC, Heat Recovery Power Generator

Manufacturing & Automation

  • Peter Atherton, AWS Clinical Waste, QLD, New clinical waste management
  • Shan Kumar, Hickory Building Systems Pty Ltd, VIC, Hickory Building Systems
  • Xiaoke Yi, University of Sydney, NSW, Healthier and safer Australia

Mining, Oil & Gas

  • James Aitken, Ausenco, QLD, Goaf injection of coal rejects
  • Ahmad Fleyfel, Conveyor Products & Solutions (CPS), WA, Conveyor Distributed Drive
  • James Kam, Hitachi Construction Machinery, QLD, Sound Attenuation Package

Research & Academia

  • Elizabeth Jens, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CF USA, Interplanetary SmallSat Rocket
  • Richard Kelso, The University of Adelaide, SA, Low-drag bicycle helmets
  • Melissa Knothe Tate, University of New South Wales, NSW, Cell’s-eye view of human hips


  • Edgar Johnson, GHD, SA, Flow meter field calibration
  • Vishy Karri, Expert 365, QLD, Plant Centric Irrigation Tools
  • Sandra Kentish, University of Melbourne, VIC, Storing CO2 in Microalgae

Young Engineers

  • Elliot Alfirevich, Wood & Grieve Engineers, WA, Lasers boost commuter comfort
  • Dan Copelin, GHD, QLD, Virtual pipes
  • Carrie Dearnley, BMT WBM Pty Ltd, QLD, Flood Decision Support System