Engineers Australia WA award winners announced

At the divisional level, the Engineers Australia medal is awarded to recipients who demonstrate meritorious service in the pursuit of the interests of our profession.
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The prestigious Engineers Australia medal award recognises the efforts of engineers who have provided conspicuous service to Engineers Australia and our goals in a local context.

The 2021 WA recipients of the Engineers Australia medal award were announced at the end of year celebration and recognition evening on Wednesday 8 December.

The evening also acknowledged Raj Kirup as the winner of the Engineers Australia Environmental Engineering Award. This award will be presented to Dr Kirup at the Pinnacles event on 1 March 2022.

Medal recipient - Doug Aberle FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER

Doug is the past Chair of the College of Leadership and Management WA committee. During his time as Chair and committee member, Doug has expertly facilitated our in-person Horizons interview series with luminary engineers such as Dr Ken Michael, past Governor of WA; Sue Murphy on the day her resignation as CEO of Water Corporation was announced; John Galvin, Executive Vice President at Clough; John Flecker, Global CEO of Brookfield Multiplex; Judith Uren, Chair of the Board at Pritchard Francis; Meg O’Neill, before her appointment to CEO of Woodside; and more recently Ashley Wright, CEO of GHD.  He also had the privilege of interviewing Professor Peter Klinken, WA Chief Scientist and a Companion of Engineers Australia.

Despite some initial nervousness, our interviewees have expressed gratitude for this unique opportunity to openly and candidly discuss their leadership journeys. They have spent time in the lead up to the interview reflecting on their careers and realising valuable insights to share with the audience. This series was achieved through Doug’s careful preparation, inquisitiveness and ability to cultivate a conversation as if it were only the two of them speaking. The Horizons interviews (and its predecessor series, Frontiers) are available to watch on EA On Demand.

Medal recipient - James Westcott FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER

James was the first WA President to hold a two-year term in 2017 and 2018. During his time on the WA Division Committee, James has led the sustainability and climate change focus group, engaging with volunteer groups, members and external stakeholders, including the UWA Public Policy Institute.

James was instrumental to the design and delivery of the Engineers Australia Climate Change Challenge series of events led by the College of Leadership and Management in collaboration with the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Murdoch University. The series attracted around 1000 attendees at four webinars and two forums. Presenters included Engineers Australia’s National President Nick Fleming, CEO Bronwyn Evans and Chief Engineer Jane MacMaster, WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken, university professors and industry leaders. The aim was to find ways of building climate change competence through the themes of design, education and leadership, in participants’ personal and professional lives.

James, along with David Rice from SENG, then led the development of the paper that was accepted for presentation at Engineers Australia’s Climate Smart Engineering Conference (CSE) this year. This body of work was an extraordinary effort to assimilate a number of inputs and ideas, culminating in a comprehensive paper and presentation on “Engineering leadership as the climate changes” at CSE, endorsed by the WA Division Committee.   

Group medal recipients - WA Student Practicum Working Group

This group, led by WA Division Committee member Doug Bruce, comprises representatives from tertiary institutions including students, industry and Engineers Australia. In a workshop held in 2021, students and supervisors revealed challenges for student engagement gaining work placements. The group contributed to the refresh of the guideline – ‘Providing Work Experience to Engineering Students’. To better understand the issues, the group undertook research into the challenges students, industry employers and supervisors face in hosting student work placements. The research is being conducted through a comprehensive questionnaire for students and industry and workshops with the tertiary sector. Working as a collective has provided invaluable insight into the relationships between universities, industry, accreditation of courses, as well as the requirements of practicums and the value they provide, and detailed information of the challenges students face in attaining work placements. The industry survey is open until 21 December.

Members of the student practicum working group are; Sally Male, Sonia Ferns, Martina Calais, David Parlevliet, Jeremy Leggoe, Nazim Khan, Majid Rad, Douglas Bruce, Brian Haggerty, Francis Norman, Lorie Jones, Sammar Abbas, Jazlyn Peattie, Rebecca Craigie, Jayden Leveridge, Luke McGuirk, Kym Spann and Susan Kreemer Pickford.

Professional Environmental Engineer of the Year - Dr Raj Kurup FIEAust CPEng NER

Raj has a demonstrated history of communicating and addressing environmental challenges and actions for the engineering profession. He is the CEO and principal of Environmental Engineers International. This business, that commenced as a two-person consultancy, has grown to a highly respected, multi-award-winning specialist engineering consultancy delivering to a myriad of market sectors. Raj champions the provision of practical and finishing school training for environmental engineering students and fresh graduates pro-bono. Over the years, he has trained more than 70 young engineers and helped a number of them secure employment.  

Raj has supervised more than 60 students at the University of Western Australia and Murdoch University. Together with the students, and on his own, he has authored more than 60 publications.

Image - some of the members of the WA Student Practicum Working Group