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Top 100 : 2008
TOP 100 AUSTRALIA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL ENGINEERS Leaders in many fi elds T compared with only two last year. There are also a number of Australian by Dietrich Georg Managing Editor he 2008 list of Australia’s 100 most infl uential engineers is the fi fth Engi- neers Media has published. It again reveals the wide range of areas where engineers are in infl uential positions. We found engineers at the top not only in engineering companies but also in universities, public service departments, government, the fi - nance sector and even a large legal fi rm. We also uncovered a religious leader with an engineering background, although he just missed out on being included on the list. As the list focuses on present infl uence rather than historic achievements, it again contains a large number of new names indicating the depth of the pool of engineers in senior management positions. This year we have 39 new entries, compared with last year, some of them reappearing from previous years due to changed roles. Female engineers are better represented this year than last year, with fi ve on the list engineers holding influential positions overseas. When we compiled the list for the fi rst time in 2004, our aim was to test the veracity of the perception, often repeated and lamented by engineers themselves, that engineers were good at problem-solving but rarely made it into top leadership positions. Now in its fi fth year, the list has thoroughly disproved this perception. In fact it has become a prestigious list in its own right and I have heard it referred to on several occasions in introductions of speakers at conferences. In the selection process, I was again as- sisted by an eminent panel of advisers from different fi elds (see caption). To be able to refl ect the wide range of activities engineers are involved in at senior levels, we divided the list into seven categories – Industry, Consulting, Academia/ Research, Associations, Public Service, Engineering Expertise and Other. We did not rank the names by level of infl uence as a comparison between the different areas and positions of infl uence would have been very diffi cult. Essentially we used the following cri- • • • • teria in determining the infl uence of our candidates: • In the Industry category we mainly looked at the size of their organisations measured by revenue and staff numbers. We also took into account the industry sector each organisation is operating in, so that we could accommodate leaders of smaller organisations, who might not have made it purely by the size of their organisations but are market leaders in their fi eld. Examples are Dr Peter Farrell and Chris Roberts from biomedical companies Resmed and Cochlear. In the Consulting category we used staff numbers and revenue where available. In Academia/Research we considered the size of each university mainly by student numbers, as well as the size and infl uence of other research organisations. • With Associations we looked at membership numbers. In Public Service we considered the responsibilities of each candidate including their spending budget and staff numbers. In Engineering Expertise we looked at technical achievements and their current impact on engineering practice. • In the Other category we included engineers who are infl uential in other areas such as politics. The advisory panel consisted of (l-r) mechanical engineer Peter North, former chair of the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, Sydney University; chemical engineer David Hind, former managing director of Process Gas Solutions South Pacifi c, BOC Group; chemical engineer Prof Rolf Prince, former head of Sydney University’s Department of Chemical Engineering; civil engineer Dr John Nutt, former chair of Arup in Australasia; electrical engineer David Croft, former CEO of Transgrid NSW; and (insets) Margot Cairnes, director of leadership consultant Zaffyre International; and civil engineer General Peter Gration, former chief of the Australian Defence Force. 32 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA JUNE 2008 30-33 g -intro.indd 32 30-33 g -intro.indd 32 6/6/08 14:28:29 6/6/08 14:28:29 Generally we selected only the most senior engineer in each organisation, except where subsections of the same organisation are very large in their own right and operate virtually autonomously. For instance, several engineers from the Leighton Group as well as the Defence Materiel Organisation are included. As for eligibility of candidates, we included engineers working in Australia, independent of their nationality, as well as Australian engineers working overseas. Inevitably the selection process contained subjective elements and we don’t imagine everyone will agree with our choices. But we are confi dent that the list again demonstrates the wide spread of engineers in infl uential positions in this country. Personally, I have found the selection process exciting and rewarding. ■ COVER STORY