Australia's Most Inspiring Young Engineers

Young Engineers Australia has announced seven young engineers as Australia's Most Inspiring Young Engineers in 2010. The announcement was made during the Engineering Leadership Conference in Brisbane last week.

The winners are Kim Axworthy, Andrew Bagnall, Dr Andrew Botros, Dr Kimberley Clayfield, Michael D'Onofrio, Steven Lindsay and Darren Lomman. For full details about the winners and their achievements, please click on the links below.

In addition to the winners, eight young engineers received high commendations. They are Rachel Ann Coxon, Sebastian Eckersley-Maslin, Salma Farouque, Jillian Kilby, Ashley Kingsborough, Suzanne Morris, Julian O'Shea and Kathryn Smith.

The judges were Young Engineers Australia National Committee chair Carla Cher, Engineers Australia vice-president Barry Tonkin and national past president Ian Pedersen.

Kim Axworthy

Kim Axworthy In 2004, Kim started the WA Chapter of Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) with a small group of engineers, and has been a core part of the chapter since then. She has helped to initiate and coordinate numerous local and international projects and spoken publically and to anyone who will listen about EWB, in order to inspire and attract motivated volunteers to work on these projects.

Over the years she has attracted many volunteers to become involved in EWB and enabled them to have valuable and life changing experiences through their involvement. Kim has given many fascinating presentations inspiring current and future engineers on how engineering can assist with solving the most pressing problems of today.

Kim is passionate and enthusiastic about what she does - in 2006 she moved from a well paid corporate engineering job and instead opted for what she believes in: working with EWB, a non-profit organisation, working with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life.

Kim is now the South East Asia Program Coordinator for Engineers Without Borders Australia, and regularly travels to the region, including leading EWB's "Development Education Experience" - a month-long opportunity for young engineers and students to experience community development first-hand in Cambodia and India.

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Andrew Bagnall

Andrew Bagnall Andrew's passion and drive for the work he undertakes is visible in everything that he does. He is a natural leader who continually applies new methods beyond his 'position description' to improve the triple bottom line of engineering within GHD and the built environment sector.

Motivated by ethical and sustainable outcomes, his work on 'green buildings' has inspired many within GHD and externally to consider sustainability as a priority in their daily work.

Andrew had the foresight 5 years ago to pursue ESD and has since grown a substantial team of specialists who are recognised as being at the forefront of their industry. Today, most projects must meet sustainability criteria both during development and in operation.

Andrew's philosophy of achieving sustainable outcomes extends beyond his client-focused work. Even though demand for Ecologically Sustainable Design (ESD) is high, Andrew still prioritises time for community pursuits.

He is committed to enriching graduates' knowledge of this new engineering practice through guest lectures at universities, and to attracting new graduates to GHD. Andrew's ability to deliver on his vision of developing the ESD serves as inspiration to the students.

He has dedicated time to mentor aspiring Indigenous engineers. Andrew partakes in the annual Engineering Aid Indigenous Summer School as a mentor for 20 year 11 Indigenous Students. This is a rewarding pursuit to both Andrew and the students.

Looking to the future, Andrew is focused on further integrating ESD into both GHD's service offering and the built environment mind-set to ensure the longevity of new and retro-fit buildings and therefore minimizing their output on the environment.

He will also strive to continue his role in mentoring aspiring engineers - both those already pursuing a career at university and those from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them realise the rewards of a career in engineering.

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Andrew Botros

Andrew Botros Andrew Botros, 30, a Principal Engineer at Cochlear Limited, was Engineers Australia's National Young Professional Engineer of the Year in 2006. He has been one of the pre-eminent ambassadors of engineering at Young Engineers Australia's activities over the past five years.

In 2007, Andrew toured Australia at the invitation of The Institution, speaking at professional and public events across the country. In 2008, he was Master of Ceremonies for YEA's largest ever event, the 2008 National Summit in Perth. And since 2004, he has given mentorship to hundreds of high school students through the Honeywell Engineering Summer School.

Chiefly, Andrew's ten year career has inspired colleagues and students through his outstanding technical achievements. As a current technology leader at Cochlear Limited, Andrew has significant responsibility for research and design of audiological software. In 2005, he developed the cochlear implant industry's only commercial application of artificial intelligence, and in 2010 he completed his PhD thesis in this field. The developments of his thesis form the framework of Cochlear's next software platform for the audiology profession.

In 2001, Andrew was awarded the University Medal for Computer Engineering by The University of New South Wales, largely for his research in music acoustics. His research and development has found application in the operating theatre, with tools to simplify cochlear implant configuration; in the concert hall, with tools to support high-performing woodwind musicians; and in the fundamental understanding of how human hearing works.

The breadth and attraction of these technology developments are fine examples of engineering's ability to inspire society.

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Kimberley Clayfield

Kimberley Clayfield Dr Kimberley Clayfield, Executive Manager of CSIRO Space Sciences and Technology, demonstrates that stellar opportunities exist for Australian engineers with a passion for space.

As a mechanical engineer who has moved from research into the realms of federal space industry policy to become a leader of space-related activities within Australia's premier national scientific and industrial research organisation, CSIRO, Dr Clayfield provides inspiration to her fellow engineers through the opportunities she has helped to create for the Australian space sector.

Formerly an Assistant Manager within the Australian Government's Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Dr Clayfield played a key role in developing the policy proposal which led to the May 2009 announcement of $48.6 million to support the development of the Australian space science and industry sector. This has created an opportunity for growth in space research and commercial space activity which has not been available in more than a decade, and will indirectly benefit the wider community through the development of indigenous knowledge, expertise and world-class space-related technology with applications in every aspect of our daily lives.

Now, in her current role as Executive Manager of CSIRO Space Sciences and Technology, Dr Clayfield supports space science and engineering projects of national significance, from the development of satellite earth observation technologies and techniques, to the construction of the world-class Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio-telescope.

Outside of work, Dr Clayfield represents the engineering profession in a number of forums both at the national and international levels; she also has a passion for science education and dedicates much of her personal time to inspiring high school students to study science and engineering, particularly through her role as Program Director of the South Australian Space School and National Space Camp Woomera, through which she has mentored more than 500 students to date.

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Michael D'Onofrio

Michael D Whether it is leading a diverse team of Engineers Without Borders volunteers into remote indigenous communities to engage in sustainable community development, promoting engineering education in the "QUT Real World Engineering TV Campaign", speaking on behalf of the Australian engineering community at international disaster reconstruction symposiums in China or representing Queensland as a Rhodes Scholarship candidate, Michael D'Onofrio has an internal source of energy that never seems to run out. He has a natural ability to understand the scope of complex, multi-disciplinary concepts and to clearly articulate his ideas across cultural boundaries - making him an extremely valuable member and future leader of the engineering team.

Michael graduated with First Class Honours in both his Bachelor of Engineering and Masters of Project Management at QUT, the latter with a perfect GPA of 7.0. However, as an example of his inspiring persona, Michael simultaneously undertook both degrees full-time in his final year while acting as a university tutor for his fellow final year engineering students, participating in full-time employment at global engineering company, McConnell Dowell, and volunteering extensively with amazing organisations including Engineers Without Borders and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Michael has also undertaken a student exchange to the world-class Politecnico di Milano in Italy and backpacked extensively through South-East Asia, the United Arab Emirates and Europe.

As a graduate engineer, Michael is intimately involved in the planning of transformational, multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects in both Australia and Papua New Guinea and aims to play a vital part in the delivery of these projects in 2010. In support of his professional activities, Michael has recently launched a new volunteer program to trek the 92km Kokoda Trail in August to raise vital funds for the Legacy Foundation and promote a greater cultural understanding of Australia's closest neighbour.

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Steven Lindsay

Steven Lindsay Steven Lindsay is a talented and inspiring structural engineer at Arup. He has recently been promoted to Associate, making him one of the youngest engineers at this level in the company worldwide. Steven joined Arup in 2003 and has led some of the most challenging jobs in the Sydney office. Steven was interested in exploring avenues that enabled him to contribute meaningfully to society by using engineering. As such, he has been involved with Red R for the last 12 months completing intensive training course designed to apply engineering principles to political and natural disasters zones, and his presently on the register for deployment. His interest in helping those in need by applying his skills may see him deployed to Haiti. Steven was also recently invited to be Arup's RedR coordinator for Australasia.

Steven is a mentor to young staff at the Arup office. He has two formal mentees who he meets with regularly to discuss their career and goals. As part of his day to day job he conducts staff appraisals for five of the employees in the Sydney structural group.

As a team leader, Steven is able to motivate and inspire staff members to achieve high results. His strong communication skills with clients and staff alike enables him to effectively apply high quality engineering solutions to suit clients needs. His success with clients and with project management in particular makes him a role model for his peers. Steven strives to add value to projects and interactions with clients at every opportunity.

Steven is a casual lecturer and tutor at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Here he teaches a course on structures to architecture students, and has been doing so for the last three years.

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Darren Lomman

Darren Lomman Darren is an inspiring young person who as a university student had a vision of using his passion, energy and engineering to make dreams come true for a paraplegic he met in a car park who dreamed of riding again. He did this by designing a completely hand controlled motorcycle which he successfully built and had approved for road use whilst a student.

After graduation Darren was so passionate about continuing to help more people with disabilities fulfill their dreams, so he started an organisation called Dreamfit which supported teams of engineering students to use their projects to help people with disabilities.

Dreamfit is now a registered not-for-profit organisation rapidly building in capacity. Darren's official roles is as the CEO and director but also takes on many other responsibilities including mentoring and supporting the students that come through the program.

Darren is current leading the development of a 1500sqm workshop called Dreamplex which is being custom fitted out to support the student engineers in helping people with disabilities.

In 2009 almost 300 students from two different universities were involved in Dreamfit projects.

Darren is an active advocate for both engineering and disability, regularly guest speaking at functions encouraging students to study engineering and to improve conditions for people with disabilities.

In 2008, Darren received a Churchill Fellowship to visit a range of international programs and organisations to gain knowledge which he could bring back to Australia for the benefit of the community.

In 2008 Darren was named the 2008 Young Mechanical Engineer of the Year by Engineers Australia and in 2007 was named the 2007 WA Young Australian of the Year.

 

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