Two asset management professionals from Western Australia have been recognised in their quest to improve asset management within their organisations.
City of Mandurah Asset Management Engineer, Louise Hudson and City of Albany Senior Civil Engineering Officer, Brianna Aris were presented with the Centre for Pavement Engineering Education Student Excellence Awards, which they received while studying a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Professional Honours in Infrastructure Asset Management).
The Centre for Pavement Engineering Education (CPEE) is an accredited, private provider of higher education that specialises in courses servicing the road and pavement sector. The Annual CPEE Student Excellence Awards recognise students who demonstrate excellence while undertaking specialist technical postgraduate units offered by CPEE and its partner, the University of Tasmania.
IPWEA sponsors three CPEE unit of study awards; Asset Management Fundamentals, Asset Management Practices and Infrastructure Financial Management. Hudson won the award for Asset Management Fundamentals and Aris was recognised for her work in the Infrastructure Financial Management unit.
In her role with the City of Mandurah, Hudson is responsible for roads and bridges asset classes.
“This involves conducting condition surveys and inspections, preparing annual and long term work programs, predictive modelling, establishing life cycle costs and managing projects and programs for asset creation and renewal,” Hudson says.
Unsurprisingly, Hudson lists financial constraints as the major challenges she faces in her role.
“It is difficult to get people to think about the long term financial consequences of practices being undertaken in the present time,” she says.
Another difficulty Hudson lists is deriving the useful life of a pavement. “Roads have not yet been monitored long enough to gather accurate information,” she explains.
Hudson credits IPWEA’s Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning with whetting her appetite to broaden her skills within asset management.
“I am genuinely interested in asset management and was interested in developing myself and my knowledge in this field,” she says. “I had completed the IPWEA-run Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning earlier in the year and this encouraged me to take my learning further.”
“The CPEE course has helped with identifying goals for advancing forward in asset management planning – continuous improvement is an important aspect of asset management. It also helped with refining processes and procedures. The Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning has proven to be a very good foundation to my current course.”
Before she took on her strategic asset management role with City of Albany, Brianna Aris was Asset Management Coordinator at the Shire of Broome for five years. She decided to enrol in the CPEE program because she believed it was important to stay ahead of the organisation in professional maturity, to maintain momentum and ensure continuous professional improvement.
“When I was working for the Shire of Broome I was the only asset management professional in the organisation and the most experienced in the Kimberley region at the time,” Aris says. “I hoped the CPEE program would fill some gaps in my technical knowledge, as my background was not in civil engineering, and expand my arsenal of knowledge for credibility in the role of Asset Management Coordinator.”
“I believe all of the units I have completed have been of great practical use. They have been quite varied and at a good balance between improving my technical skills and my broader professional polish.
“I certainly have a great deal more confidence in my chosen field than I did four years ago and would recommend the course to those wishing to expand their professional horizons in infrastructure asset management.”
Aris' responsibilities include promoting asset management across the organisation, creating and implementing a structure for embedding asset management into the organisation, writing and reviewing asset management policy and strategy and capital works planning.
Aris says emerging issues for the City of Albany are ageing infrastructure requiring renewal, coupled with a growing asset base and a reduction in funding from other tiers of government without any corresponding reduction in assets or services.
“The challenge is in how we can do more with less and allocating our spending in the most sustainable way,” she says. “An example may be, do we seal more gravel roads increasing our renewal liability or do we use those funds to reseal our single seal backlog and extend the life of those roads?
“Obviously, the decision may not be an either or and there are many factors that go into such a decision. Providing evidence for such scenarios to the Executive and the council is critical for them to make informed decisions and for the city to remain financially sustainable.
“I would like to thank CPEE for putting this program together and raising the profile of infrastructure asset management and IPWEA for continuously promoting the program and for sponsoring the award.”
Image 1: Louise Hudson receives her award from Australasian President Ross Goyne
Image 2: Brianna Aris receives her award from Australasian President Ross Goyne