| 23 September 2021

Meet Victoria’s Professional Engineer of the Year finalists

The Engineer of the Year award is granted to individuals who represent outstanding examples of innovation and resourcefulness within the engineering profession.

Ahead of the Victorian Professional Engineer of the Year Awards online event, Engineers Australia would like to congratulate all finalists for their considerable achievement within the profession. Following the winner announcement on 14 October, the Victorian Professional and Young Professional Engineers of the Year will progress to the at Engineers Australia Pinnacle Awards Event in early 2022. The Victorian winners will be nominated for the National Engineer of the Year award, alongside candidates from each state and territory.

Victorian General Manager Alesha Printz says the engineers selected as finalists for these awards are some of the most impressive and influential engineers in Victoria.

“Our 2021 finalists have all achieved great successes throughout their careers and have altered the profession through their engineering skill and expertise.”

“We look forward to awarding the winners, but each finalist should be congratulated for their nomination,” Printz says.

Young Professional Engineer of the Year Finalists

Celeste Ward MIEAust CPEng NER

Celeste Ward is a Process Engineer at Stantec and a credit to the engineering profession. Celeste has a unique skillset, having gained a wide range of experience from her time working for councils, water authorities, water retailers, contractors, and consultants. Her contributions to the broader engineering industry, her peers, the environment, and community are testament to her passion to create a more diverse and inclusive sector.

Emma-Rose Tildesley MIEAust CPEng NER

In her 12 years’ experience as an electrical engineer Emma-Rose has rapidly developed her leadership and management skills and broadened her technical knowledge. Emma-Rose has volunteered for the Systems Engineering Society of Australia (SESA) since 2017 and is now an executive committee member of SESA, a member of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Institute of Technical Leadership.

Nathan Benbow MIEAust

Nathan is a highly skilled structural engineer who genuinely believes there is a better way to build. He is widely recognised as a leader in mass timber design in Australia, having engineered landmark designs such as the first building made of Australian cross-laminated timber (CLT) and the world’s tallest timber vertical extension. Nathan has contributed to key design documents and has been invited to present at local and international conferences.

Nicole Brown GradIEAust

Nicole is a proud and passionate structural engineer with an infectious enthusiasm for the engineering industry and the role our industry plays in our society. She works as a structural engineer at AECOM, delivering some of the world’s most complex building projects including Aotea Station, part of the City Rail Link Project which will redefine travel within Auckland.

Sujan Bastakoti MIEAust

Sujan is a civil engineer for Loddon Shire Council and an accomplished team leader and project engineer with over 10 years of experience in the field of civil engineering. He has delivered numerous projects from design to construction whilst achieving full success on satisfying all aspects of project constraints. He is actively engaged in continuing professional development, learning new skills and knowledge, and implementing them in delivering projects to the community

Walter van der Linde MIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Walter is a registered building practitioner in Victoria and a lead mechanical engineer with Aurecon, specialising in incorporating the rigorous Passive House standards into building services for building projects. Recently, Walter played a key role in bringing to life the southern hemisphere’s largest Passive House-certified education building – Monash University’s Woodside Building for Technology and Design. As the project leader, Walter delivered an innovative and energy efficient building.

Professional Engineer of the Year Finalists

Benita Husband FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Benita Husband is CEO of pitt&sherry, a specialist engineering consultancy. pitt&sherry have 300 people in eight offices in Australia providing advice for projects ranging from roads and bridges to manufacturing and mining. Benita is a WGEA pay equity ambassador and pitt&sherry have released their first reconciliation action plan which won the Engineers Australia Award for Most Outstanding in Gender Diversity and have achieved citation as an Employer of Choice for Equal Opportunity.  

Saeid Nahavandi FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

As an academic researcher and an engineer for 30 years, Professor Saeid Nahavandi has served as a consultant to government and industry in Australia, Europe, and the USA. He pioneered multi-point haptic technologies to produce high-fidelity engineering solutions. Today, he has developed several world-first haptically-enabled robotic and virtual-reality systems. His innovations have become commercial products, generating economic value, and creating jobs for Australian communities.

Sandeep Jadhav FIEAust

Sunny is an Electrical Engineer with multiple master’s degrees, he is Chief Engineer for Land Systems Division, Department of Defence. He began as a systems engineer before joining the army where he worked in all the major defence capability development organisations. He has published many research papers, promotes STEM skills in junior officers, is a mentor for engineers looking to acquire chartered status and promotes engineering in defence and the wider community.     

Soyun Punyadasa FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Soyun is a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 27 years’ experience, in the water industry. Soyun is extremely client service focussed and is passionate about the development of future water professionals, the promotion of STEM in secondary schools and improving education and employment opportunities for all Australians. Soyun is passionate about creating a generational change for the better with Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander communities in Australia.

Xu Wang FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Xu Wang is Professor in Engineering at RMIT University. He is a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Fellow of Engineers Australia, Chartered Professional Engineer and Engineering Executive. He has published three books, 105 journal papers, and 38 conference papers. He has been awarded one ARC Discovery Project grant, two ARC Linkage grants, three AUTOCRC grants and one DMTC grant. He’s also gained a European patent, German patent, and three Australian Provisional Patents.

Image: left - Sandeep Jadhav, middle - Saeid Nahavandi, right - Benita Husband.