Leaders of the Profession: Newcastle

 An introduction to the Newcastle Division Committee

The role of the Newcastle Division Committee is to provide leadership and direction consistent with Engineers Australia’s Strategic Priorities and to communicate, advocate, connect and promote the engineering profession across academia, government, industry and the wider community, and contribute to the best engineering outcomes that the profession can deliver for the benefit of the whole community. 


Joe Townsend

Joe Townsend MIEAust

Leading with passion, Joe is a results-oriented young professional with over 10 years of experience in professional services and the construction industry. He has successfully lead business units; setting strategy, achieving goals, growing commercial and community operations. Passionate about diversity, Joe brings a high level of authentic regional leadership and public advocacy for economic growth across Newcastle and Northern NSW


Pierre Gouhier

Deputy President:  
Pierre Gouhier MIEAust CPEng NER

Pierre is a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) who holds a Master of Engineering degree from Polyetch’ Savoie (France) majoring in Composite Materials, a Master of Engineering Management and a Master of Business from the University of Newcastle. He moved to Australia in 2006 to work as a Design Engineer.  He received a National Engineering Excellence award for the design of a tidal turbine in 2012 and the Engineers Australia Newcastle Young Engineers Awards of the Year in 2013. In 2011, he followed his managerial inspiration and became Engineering Manager. Since then he has been leading, overseeing, coaching and mentoring Engineers and other professionals staff towards the delivery of complex engineering solutions. Today, Pierre is part of the Restech team as a Product Development Manager, helping to make great ideas a reality. He has also been an active player in the EA Newcastle division as a member and chair of the Mechanical branch committee. He joins the division in 2018 and is actively involved in the Education sub-committee and Engineering Awareness committee.


Alice Howe

Immediate Past President:  
Alice Howe FIEAust CPEng EngExec

Alice is an environmental engineer with over 20 years’ experience in environmental management and local government.  Alice is responsible for Lake Macquarie City Council’s extensive sustainability program. Alice is also a past President of Engineers Australia’s Newcastle Division, Member of the Environmental Engineering College Board, Conjoint Academic at the University of Newcastle, and a member the Australian Institute of Company Directors.   


Michael VK

Congress Representative
Michael van Koeverden FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Michael is a Civil Engineer and Engineers Australia (EA) Chartered Fellow. He is past president of Engineers Australia (Newcastle Division), past member of the EA Civil College Board and current EA National Congress representative for Newcastle Division.  Michael is also the Immediate Past National President of the Concrete Institute of Australia and since 2007 has worked as leading consultant and Director in CQT Services, specialising in concrete and quarry materials engineering and was also a founding Director of BGE Materials Technology and Engineered Material Solutions.




Steve Adamthwaite

Steve Adamthwaite GradIEAust

Steve is a Chemical Engineer and newly elected to the Newcastle Division Committee. During his career in he has had roles in academic research, mining and metallurgy as well as project planning and process optimisation and currently works in the NFP sector in an operational role. Steve is particularly passionate about STEM education, especially in rural & remote indigenous communities and is Chair of Young Engineers Newcastle and is part of the Chemical College committee.


Karlie Collis

Karlie Collis FIEAust CPEng NER

Karlie Collis graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2004 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), Karlie has been working at Northrop Consulting Engineers in Newcastle. As an Associate, Karlie enjoys taking an active role in strategic planning and formation of company policy. Karlie takes a participative approach to leadership as she actively seeks to encourage the best performance and participation from her teams. A strong believer in leading by example, Karlie is committed to promoting the profile of engineers within the community. Karlie is passionate about “giving back” to the profession. She was President of the Division in 2013 and is currently the Chair of the Structural College Board. Karlie keenly fosters new talent through mentoring while encouraging students to consider an engineering career choice. Karlie advocates for a collaborative approach to engineering to ensure the goal of “the best solution to the problem” can always be achieved.


Leon Fabrikanov

Leon Fabrikanov FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aust)

Leon has over 25 years of experience in Project management and engineering with expertise in the Mining and Metals and Industrial Infrastructure projects.  Leon has held the roles of Senior Project Manager and Engineering & Design Manager in several companies in Australia, the USA and the Middle East including Orica, Bechtel and Rio Tinto.  He has operated in a range of industries including Mining, Mining Explosives, Metals, Chemicals and Industrial Infrastructure and is currently working with Origin Energy in the energy generation space. Leon is also on the Newcastle CLM Committee.


Lisa Hansberry

Lisa Hansberry GradIEAust

Lisa Hansberry practices civil engineering and construction management at Ardill Payne & Partners in Ballina Northern New South Wales. Lisa is a committee member of Engineers Australia Newcastle Division and Chair of the Northern Rivers Group. Lisa is also a member of the Southern Cross University Engineering Industry Advisory Committee and founding president of the Southern Cross University Engineering Society.


Paul Reynolds

Paul Reynolds FIEAust

Paul graduated from Newcastle University with a bachelor of Mechanical Engineering in 2003. He has been actively involved with Engineers Australia having held a number of positions including President, National Congress Rep, Mechanical College Board Rep and is currently on Division Committee and Chair of the Education Sub Committee. Paul currently works at Ampcontrol in the role of a Company Manager where he is responsible for both the creation and implementation of Strategic Direction. His experience has been in the industrial sectors of mining, transportation and general industry. Strategic direction has included the creation of business opportunities in both new and existing markets.


Frank Sammut

Frank Sammut MIEAust

Frank Sammut is a Mechanical Engineer with an impressive management and leadership career in the food manufacturing and engineering sectors. His experience has predominantly been in operations management in the food industry, holding senior operations roles, expanding his responsibility into Warehousing and Logistics, Planning, Procurement, Agronomy and New Product Development. He has worked in the metal engineering, snack, baking, coffee and confectionery industries. His Last corporate role was Operations Director at Saralee. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Central Coast Industry Connect – a not-for-profit organisation representing Central Coast manufacturers. Having lived on the NSW Central Coast for over 20 years he has a passion that extends into making the region a better place. He is currently the president of the Regional Advisory Council for the NSW Business Chamber Central Coast, sits on the state council of the Chamber, is on the board of Regional Development Australia Central Coast and is chairman of Engineers Australia Central Coast Group and sits on their divisional committee.


David Sparkes

David Sparkes FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE (Aus)

David is a proud Novocastrian and a passionate engineer practicing in structural and civil engineering. David is GHD’s Newcastle region Property and Buildings market leader and works across the same areas as Engineers Australia’s Newcastle Division footprint. He is a technical director of structures within GHD’s structures team and has gained formal education at a technology level (TAFE), degree level (UON) and masters level (UNSW). David has also undertaken formal education in teaching adults (Curtin) and is a conjoint associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment at the University of Newcastle where he provides guest lecturing and mentoring to engineering, architecture and construction management students. David is a past president of the Newcastle Division and is currently part of the Division committee and the education sub committee. David looks forward to future advances in engineering and digital technology including being part of the training and mentoring of our future engineers and technologists to provide sustainable solutions for the environmental challenges we face.