Named the 2013 Public Works Project of the Year, the 2011 Strengthening Grantham Project run by Lockyer Valley Regional Council involved the construction of 121 residential lots to provide safe, flood- and fire-free land to eligible residents of the Lockyer Valley who were affected by the devastating 2010/11 Queensland floods.
IPWEA Queensland CEO Suzanna Barnes-Gillard accepted the award on behalf of Lockyer Valley Regional Council and Consultants who worked on the project from GenEng Solutions, Cardno and Pensar Pty Ltd, who will be presented with the award at their Division conference in Cairns in October.
The Public Works Leader of the Year award went to Greg McDonald, Director of Infrastructure and Operations at Wyong Shire Council, NSW.
McDonald has 20 years civil engineering experience, the majority spent in local government, and is a long-serving and active IPWEA member. He also has a special interest in sustainability and natural resource management, and has introduced water sensitive urban design techniques to a number of councils.
McDonald said he was “very surprised, excited and somewhat humbled” at being selected from such a large group of public works professionals for the award.
IPWEA CEO, Chris Champion, said he was completely surprised to be presented with Emeritus membership, the highest form of IPWEA membership. Champion was one of three members awarded the prestigious accolade, successfully kept secret despite his otherwise close involvement with the Institute.
“This was a well-deserved recognition of a true leader in the public works sector,” said IPWEA President, Paul Di Iulio, who presented the award. “It’s not easy to keep secrets from the CEO, but in this case it was well worth the effort. Chris has my wholehearted congratulations.”
Chief Executive of the IPWEA since 2000, Champion has a long history in the public works sector, including as former president of the International Federation of Municipal Engineering, and as Director of Engineering Services at Holroyd City Council in NSW where he spent 30 of his career years. He is also a regular inclusion in the Engineers Australia Top 100 Most Influential Engineers in Australia List.
Emeritus membership, which recognises members of more than 20 years for their contribution to both the Institute and to the public works sector, was also awarded to Patrick Murphy, Director of Infrastructure Services at Scenic Rim Council in Queensland, who has been on the IPWEA Queensland board for 10 years, and involved with the institute for much longer.
Bevin Eberhardt, Director of Technical Services at Central Coast Council in Tasmania was also made an Emeritus member after 40 years service in local government engineering and management. Eberhardt is a long-serving member of lPWEA and has been a trustee of the Public Works Engineering Foundation of Tasmania for more than 25 years.
With the recent launch of Young IPWEA as a new IPWEA Community of Practice, there is a special focus at this year's conference on recognising the role and contribution of younger members, with five Emerging Leaders also named at the IPWEA awards. The recipients were: Anthony McMahon (Boorowa Council, NSW), Cameron Ives (GenEng Solutions, Qld), Ernie Icolaro (City of West Torrens, SA), Oliver Heywood (Brighton Council, Tasmania) and Robert Ladd (Pyrenees Shire Council, Vic).
McMahon said the award was a “big surprise” and that it was important that IPWEA continues to support young engineers.
“It’s an honour to receive an award such as this,” said Icolaro.
The Conference also paid homage to experienced outstanding sector leaders from the Institute’s long history.
The prestigious Keith H Wood Medal recognises an outstanding engineer in local government and is presented in honour of Keith H Wood AM, who helped establish the Australian Local Government Engineers Association (now known as the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia).
The 2013 prize went to Warren Roberts, Chief Executive at Stonnington City Council in Victoria, who was nominated by the Board of the IPWEA Victoria Division.
Chairman of the Municipal Engineering Foundation Victoria, Roberts has served the IPWEAvic Board for 12 years and as its President for three years. He has also served on the National IPWEA Board for 10 years, and its President for two years.
In his statement of thanks, delivered on his behalf by Maurice Stabb, Director of Infrastructure at Wyndham City Council, Victoria, Roberts said:
“I would like to acknowledge that I am deeply honoured by the award of the Keith H Wood medal. Keith was an inspiration and an influence on my professional career and provided wise council and guidance.
“He was generous in his time and commitment to public works and to be awarded the Keith H Wood medal is for me, humbling.
“I am extremely fortunate to have worked in local government, a fantastic industry, and to have had the opportunity to represent my state and colleagues.
In reality, I am accepting this award on behalf of the many public works engineers who have supported me throughout my career and who have delivered services that have contributed in so many ways to the wellbeing of our communities.”