Media release
| 06 October 2022

Achievements in space, safety, and skin printing robots among Engineering Excellence Awards winners

This year’s top engineering achievements have been celebrated at the 2022 Engineers Australia Excellence Awards Gala Dinner event, held in Sydney overnight.

 “The Engineers Australia Excellence Awards recognise outstanding engineers who show innovation and resourcefulness in their work and the state’s top engineering projects and the teams behind them,” said Engineers Australia National President and Board Chair Dr Nick Fleming.

Our winners and finalists have this in common; an outstanding capacity to lead by example and work for the good of the community and the planet.”

Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew said the awards provide a platform for our winners and finalists to be advocates for the profession and mentor the next generation of talent.

“They give us a forum to shine the spotlight on the best of engineering, setting standards of excellence and leadership for the profession and blazing a trail for the future of the field.”

Major winners

Sir William Hudson Award

King Island UniWave200 Wave Energy Converter 
Wave Swell Energy Ltd 

The King Island UniWave200 Wave Energy Converter Project is a world-leading proprietary technology that demonstrates conversion of the energy in ocean waves into clean and emissions free electricity.
The significance of the UniWave 200 lies in its ability to scale up or down depending on the energy needs of the local community but also to provide coastal erosion protection. These factors (rural/remote electrification and erosion prevention) are vital when considering a region such as the South Pacific where many islands struggle with a lack of access to renewable (or indeed any) energy sources and grapple with the impacts of climate change and consequent rising sea levels.

Peter Nicol Russell Career Achievement Memorial Medal

Peter Cockbain AM, Newcastle

A leader, innovator and influential mentor in the electrical engineering field, Peter Cockbain is co-founder and company director of Ampcontrol, a preeminent national and international manufacturer of electrical and electronics products for the mining, renewable, infrastructure and industrial sectors.

Cockbain ’s vision, energy, and determination to continuously improve and innovate is supported by Ampcontrol’s investment in research, development and commercialisation practices that have seen the company thrive over the last 50 years to become the global success story it is today.

He is a past National President of Engineers Australia and has served as a board member of Standards Australia, the University of Newcastle Council and the Prime Ministers Science, Engineering, and Innovation Council.

In 2010, Engineers Australia named  Cockbain one of Australia’s top 100 influential engineers for his commitment to innovation. In 2015, Cockbain became a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant services to engineering.

Professional Engineer of the Year

Karu Esselle, Sydney

A distinguished professor at the University of Technology Sydney, Karu Esselle is a world leader in Electromagnetic and Antenna Engineering, and a national leader in engineering technologies for defence, telecommunications, and space systems.

Esselle is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales, IEEE and Engineers Australia, and a Director of Innovations for Humanity Pty Ltd. His engineering R&D, leadership and professional engineering activities have received a large number of international and national awards.

Young Professional Engineer of the Year

Deanna Hood, Sydney

As senior robotics engineer on Inventia’s ‘skin-printing robot’ Ligō, Deanna Wood works with burns surgeons to reduce the lifelong impact that scarring has on bushfire, bombings, and other widespread-burns survivors.

Since her first internship at age 17, Hood has been driven to apply engineering to society’s most exciting and rewarding challenges.

She pioneered the CoWriter robotic partner, which allows children with handwriting difficulties to benefit from learning-by-teaching, and was a core Software Engineer on ROS 2, now used in NASA’s VIPER mission. Her firmware contributions to the RASTRUM 3D bioprinter support cancer researchers leveraging RASTRUM’s precision engineering to advance treatment of disease.

Engineering Technologist of the Year

Nicholas Clarke MBE CSC, Canberra
TFIEAust CEngT EngExec NER

Nicholas Clarke is an Engineers Australia fellow with a background in space; communications; weapons; electronic warfare; intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) and project management.

He has worked and lived in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Australia and has served with the Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Saudi Arabian Airforce, with operational tours in the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Engineering Associate of the Year

Malcolm Shepherd, Queensland
AFIEAust CEngA EngExec NER 

Malcolm Shepherd is chief development officer at Sunwater where he leads the development and delivery of significant major water infrastructure projects.

Prior to joining Sunwater, Shepherd had an accomplished career in the private sector where he served in a range of project and management roles across Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and the Middle East.

Throughout his prestigious career spanning decades, he has been involved in the development, engineering, and construction of some of Australia’s most significant water infrastructure projects, totalling more than $8bn of investment.

Shepherd is a strong advocate for diversity, equity, sustainable development, safety, wellbeing, and skills development across the water engineering construction sector.

Recognition Awards showcase the achievements of engineers within a specific technical sector and highlight the valuable contributions made to the wider engineering community hosted by Engineers Australia’s Colleges, Technical Societies, Special Interest Groups and National Committee.

Find out more about our Recognition Award winners on the Excellence Awards website

Image: Engineers Australia Excellence Awards 2022 winners