2021 Northern Regional Forum

Start time: 8.30am AEST. Join fellow engineers in a day of open learning, recognition, and celebration of local developments aimed at bettering Northern Queensland.
2021 Northern Regional Forum


The 2021 Northern Regional Forum is an annual event combining our regional groups from Townsville, Cairns and Mackay regional areas. This event will deliver the theme of ‘Resilience and Infrastructure’ with guest speakers from a variety of disciplines.

The second of the regional forums for 2021, the Northern Regional Forum will cover a number of timely topics relevant to the happenings in Northern Queensland.

Engineers, as well as business executives, public servants and engineering students, are invited to attend.

The full day of hands-on learning will grant attendees up to 8 CPD hours.

For any enquiries, please contact the CPD Events and Group Engagement team ([email protected]) to enquire about late registration.


Official Forum Opening 

Councillor Jenny Hill, Mayor of Townsville

Councillor Hill was born and educated in Melbourne, Victoria, and graduated from LaTrobe University with a Bachelor of Science in 1981. The following year she moved to Townsville with her fiancé who was enlisted in the Australian Army.

Cr Hill has 23 years’ experience as a scientist with mining companies, the Department of Primary Industries, James Cook University and Townsville Hospital. She has also completed a Masters of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at James Cook University, which included management, economics and accounting.

In 1982 she joined the Army Reserve, first serving in the Royal Corps of Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME), maintaining and recovering defence vehicles. In 1987, she graduated from the Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) as a General Service Officer (GSO).
Cr Hill has over 20 years’ service in local government. In 2012, she was elected the first female mayor of Townsville. 


Forum Program (AEST)





Guest Arrival and Registration 


Opening Address & Introduction 


Welcome Message & QLD Division Update

Elizabeth Harrison, MIEAust CPEng NER, Committee Member, QLD Division


Message from the Mayor

Cr Jenny Hill - Mayor of Townsville


Update from the Townsville Committee

Emma King, MIEAust CPEng, Co-Chair Townsville Regional Group


STEM Update

Hinu Komene, Stakeholder Engagement Manager


Update on Copperstring

John G O’Brien, MIEAust, RPEQ, Executive Chairman, Copperstring 2.0


Consultation and Innovation - It’s all about Team

Mary Balfour, Communications and Consultation Manager, Balfour Consulting Pty Ltd and Jeff Hughes, The Infrastructure Group’s [TIG] Structures Construction Manager


Student presentations

Onboarding and graduating during Covid 19

COVID-19: A New Era of Teaching and Learning


-Conor Baird, MIEAust, Graduate Mechanical Engineer

-Brodie Windle, StudIEAust, 4th Year Electrical and Electronic Engineering Student


Morning Tea & Networking


Energy Queensland Local Battery Plan

Glenn Dahlenburg, MIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus),  Manager Battery Project, 

Energy Queensland


Hells Gates Business Case

Kris Narayan, MIEAust CPEng NER RPEQ,  Project Manager, SMEC


Townsville Region Key Priorities 

Claudia Brumme-Smith, CEO, Townsville Enterprise 


Lunch and Networking 


Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project

Arran McGhieChief Operations Officer, Genex Power


Vulnerability of Buildings to Wind-storms

John Ginger, FIEAust, Research Director, Cyclone Testing Station, James Cook University


Sustainable Port

Marissa Wise, FIEAust, General Manager Infrastructure and Environment, Port of Townsville


Afternoon Tea & Networking


Queensland Country Bank Stadium: Design Competition Winning Entry through to hosting the State of Origin

Scott Rathie,  MIEAust CPEng NER RPEQ, Senior Manager, ARUP


Forum close



Stadium Site Tour


5.15pm – 7.15pm

Networking event

Forum Speakers

Marissa Wise, FIEAust, General Manager Infrastructure and Environment, Port of Townsville

Marissa is the General Manager of Infrastructure and Environment at the Port of Townsville. She has the pleasure of leading the development of sustainable ports in Townsville and Lucinda through implementing best practice strategic asset management and sustainable Port development codes. This is also a period of substantial capital investment at the Port with the Channel Upgrade project creating future trade opportunities.

Presentation: Sustainable Port

The Port of Townsville exists to create prosperity for our communities and value for our customers and shareholders through world-leading sustainable operations. To continue to serve our communities, grow trades and services of the future and ensure strategic defence and cruise capabilities, our Ports will require expansion and modernisation. Sustainability has been central to how we have done business since the very beginning and will be of paramount importance in the future.

Mary Balfour, BSc (Hons), DipJ, Communications and Consultation Manager, Balfour Consulting Pty Ltd

Mary Balfour has management and corporate experience, as well as acknowledged expertise in strategic communications. She was managing director of a national Australian public relations consultancy from 1988 to 1990 and managed her own strategic planning consultancy in Melbourne and Sydney from 1990 to 2001, before moving to Townsville to join her brother in Balfour Consulting.

Mary has worked for over 30 years in strategic planning and public relations in Australia and New Zealand. She has a strong management background and specialises in issues management, media relations and communications strategic planning – all necessary skills for successful community engagement. Mary has worked particularly with government, unions and business in the community engagement area.

Mary has also developed and implemented strategic communication programs for a wide range of organisations, from BHP Steel and Telstra through to specialist companies such as Moldflow, a Victorian software company.

She has successfully conducted community engagement programs for projects that include road construction, CBD mall upgrade, major building projects, traffic management, sewerage upgrades, harbour dredging and land acquisition by the government.

From 2004, the work by Mary and her clients in Townsville has been recognised in 20 State and national awards.

Presentation: Consultation and Innovation - It’s all about Team

The challenges of communicating and engaging with stakeholders involved in the Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project were made significantly easier by working with a project team committed to a bottom-up focus on innovation. This approach, the ability to solve stakeholder challenges quickly and effectively, was driven by innovative solutions that built trust with stakeholders at all levels and ensured communication channels remained positively connected. Engineering innovation has also contributed to the success of the project, with examples ranging from one-off solutions through to major design and construction innovations.

John Ginger, Cyclone Testing Station, James Cook University, Research Director

John Ginger is a Professor of Engineering at James Cook University in Townsville and the Research Director of the Cyclone Testing Station. He has been involved in research, testing and consulting in Wind Engineering since 1987. John has extensive experience in wind tunnel model studies, full-scale field tests and structural vulnerability studies in Australia and overseas, and has published widely in these areas. He is a committee member of Standards Australia committee BD-006/2 – Wind Loads. He is also a Chief Investigator in projects funded by the ARC and Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC.

Presentation: Vulnerability of Buildings to Wind-storms

The Cyclone Testing Station (CTS) established in 1977 at James Cook University in Townsville is recognised as a leader in wind engineering research. The CTS carried out a study to assess the vulnerability of houses to windstorms. The study determined the vulnerability of a range of house types across Australia and provided retrofit options for strengthening houses. This presentation will describe the design of buildings for wind loading, VAWS software package, vulnerability of selected house types and the web based retrofit guidelines.

Glenn Dahlenburg, Manager Battery Project, Energy Queensland

Glenn Dahlenburg is currently Managing Energy Queensland’s Battery project which is connecting 5 grid scale batteries to Ergon Energy’s distribution network across regional Queensland.
Previous to the battery project Glenn managed Energy Queensland’s Group Strategy team who developed strategic scenarios to model structural changes within the energy industry, from slowing economic growth to rapid adoption of renewables. Previous experience includes managing, the Strategic Network planning team, Ergon Energy’s 33 Isolated Networks and Energex and Ergon Energy’s demand management programs.
Glenn is passionate about the future of energy and being part of the sustainable transformation of an entire industry.

Presentation: Energy Queensland’s Local Battery Plan

Energy Queensland is a 100% Queensland Government-owned group of electricity distribution, retail and services businesses. Our distribution businesses - Ergon Energy and Energex - support one of the world’s largest distribution networks, from 99 depots dotted all over the state. Our network connects over 2.2million customers, 700,000 rooftop solar energy systems, 20 plus solar farms and 26 large bioenergy generators. The Local Battery Plan is one part of how we ensure electricity can be reliably supplied to our customers while supporting the continued adoption of renewable energy to meet Queensland’s Renewable Energy Target.

Kris Narayan, CPEng NER RPEQ, Project Manager, SMEC

Kris is a Project Manager with SMEC and a Chartered Professional Engineer through Engineers Australia. Kris is also a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland and an alumnus of the Townsville Enterprise Emerging Leaders Program. He has worked on a number of large-scale multidisciplinary projects in the transportation, water and renewable energy sectors. He has also worked on a number of construction projects as a project manager with RMS before joining SMEC.

Kris has been part of a number of projects in the region including, the Hells Gates Business Case, Ross River Solar Farm, Clare Solar Farm, Haughton Pipeline Duplication and a number of projects for Transport and Main Roads.

Presentation: Hells Gates Business Case

Building resilience within the economy is dependent on building resilient infrastructures that have the ability to not only withstand but also adapt to disruptions in our everyday lives. Engineers play a fundamental role with this process at different levels of a project.

This resilience through critical infrastructures is what Hells Gates project seeks to meet both at a national level and also globally for renewable energy and agricultural production. Hells Gates project is quite uniquely a multi-disciplinary project and has over 50+ specialist engineers, scientists and technicians involved in the delivery of the critical infrastructures that make up Hells Gates. 


Arran McGhie, Chief Operations Officer, Genex Power

Arran has over 20 years experience in project delivery of large underground mine development and urban infrastructure projects, in Australia and overseas including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.  Arran acquired a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) from the University of Queensland in 1994 and Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment from the Australian Securities Institute in 1998. Over the course of his career, Arran has worked for a number of Australia’s largest construction companies including Lend Lease, John Holland, CPB Contractors and Thiess, in a variety of project delivery roles including Project Development, Project Management and Business Development.

Presentation: Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project

The presentation will provide an overview of Genex and the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project. The Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project is a world-first project to be developed from utilising an abandoned open-cut gold mine and is the first hydro project to be developed in Australia in 40 years.


Scott Rathie,  MIEAust CPEng NER RPEQ, Senior Manager, ARUP

Scott Rathie is a Senior Structural Engineer with Arup and is Vice President of the Lightweight Structures Association of Australasia. With Arup he has worked in Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Bangkok, Adelaide, and Singapore on world-class projects that are predominantly in the sports sector. These projects vary from a 300m spanning dome of Singapore Sports Hub, a voronoi vierendeel gridshell covering the HOTA outdoor stage to the folded plate structure of Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Scott was awarded the Most Innovative Engineer of 2020, in Building and Construction, for his contribution as lead structural engineer of the superstructure for the Queensland Country Bank Stadium. He has also won the IStructE Young Structural Engineers’ International Design Competition.

Presentation: Queensland Country Bank Stadium: Design Competition Winning Entry through to hosting the State of Origin

Working with Cox and Counterpoint Architecture to develop the design competition-winning concept for the Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville, Scott developed the innovative roof framing system inspired by the leaf of the Pandanus tree which is synonymous with North Queensland.

This presentation will cover the development of the competition winning form and the collaboration required with the architect to deliver on its promise. This will include an overview of the scheme, focusing on the key structural details. The topological optimisation of the bowl to achieve the required dynamic performance. The modularisation and erection sequence required to build the unique form. Finally, the future proofing design of the Stadium to host event likes the State of Origin Tour.

Brodie Windle, Engineering Undergraduate Society / Engineers Australia, President / JCU Student Ambassador

Brodie is a JCU Engineers Australia Student Representative and also sits on the Townsville Regional Group Committee as a JCU Liason. Outside of his work at Engineers Australia, he is also the President of the JCU Engineering Undergraduate Society.
Brodie is 4th-year Electrical and Electronics Engineer and has a passion for Embedded Systems design where he enjoys the challenge of turning concepts into reality through both software and hardware. This can be reflected through his graduate position as a Systems Design Engineer for 2022. He is looking forward to the new challenges that will be presented to him in the 'real world' and is excited about one day obtaining his charted status and RPEQ.

Stadium Site Tour

Attendees will all have the opportunity to have a site visit of this environmentally inspired,  architecturally designed and sustainable stadium.

Read more here https://createdigital.org.au/pandanus-tree-inspired-queensland-stadium/

Read about Scott Rathie innovative engineer award  https://createdigital.org.au/innovative-engineers/scott-rathie/


Forum Networking Event

Join us from 5:15 pm for drinks and canapes with your colleagues old and new. 


Why attend

  • Learn from experts and keep up-to-date  about the current Northern Region challenges
  • Improve your regional business knowledge
  • Over 8 hours of CPD
  • Expected audience of more than 100 people
  • Network with business owners, managers, consultants, public servants,  students and executives across all local industries
  • Site tour offering insight and knowledge


Getting there and Car Parking

Queensland Country Bank Stadium is bordered by Saunders and Rooney Streets on the banks of Ross Creek less than 2km from Townsville CBD and 7km from Townsville airport. North Queensland Stadium has limited onsite carparks including accessible car parks. Alternatively, additional car parking is available at Dean Street car park.

About the Regional Engineering Forums

The Engineers Australia Queensland Regional Engineering Forums are annual events held in three regional clusters across the state - Southern, Northern and Central. For more information on the 2021 Regional Forums, please see below.

Southern Regional Forum

  • Post-COVID Disruption - Wednesday 28 April 2021, located on the Sunshine Coast. View Event Photos HERE

Northern Regional Forum

  • Resilience and Infrastructure - Monday 26 July 2021, located in Townsville

Central Regional Forum

  • Theme TBC - October, Located in Gladstone. Express your interest HERE


Student Member Pricing

In order for students to get that price point, they must be a Student Member of Engineers Australia. Student membership is free and you can join here. 


Thank you to our Principal Partner:



26 / 07 / 2021 - 08:30 am to 07:15 pm
Registration Closes
23 / 07 / 2021 12:00 pm
Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Gundulu Room 2
17/49 Saunders St
Railway Estate
Event Registration
  • Member Rate: $140.00 ($127.27 excl. GST)
  • Student Member Rate: $110.00 ($100.00 excl. GST)
  • Non-Member Rate: $190.00 ($172.73 excl. GST)
Key Speaker(s)
Cr Jenny Hill, Marissa Wise, Mary Balfour, John Ginger
Event Contact
  • Contact:
    Engineers Australia Member Services
  • Phone:
    1300 653 113
  • Email:
Maximum CPD Hours