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Top 100 : 2005
Leaders in engineering and beyond Advisory panel Australia’s top engineers work in a variety of fields in Australia and overseas. by Dietrich Georg Managing Editor F ollowing the success of last year’s inaugural list of Australia’s 100 most influential engineers, we broadened its scope this year making it even more a showcase of the spread of engineers in influential positions within engineering and beyond, both in Australia and overseas. We uncovered engineers in top positions not only in engineering companies but also in finance, academia and politics. Our first selection criteria was currency as we didn’t want to create an historic list. We searched for engineers who are influential at present, either through the position they hold or the work they do. Engineers who made major contributions in the past are not included. Similarly, engineers who were on last year’s list but resigned from their positions in the meantime are no longer on it. The second selection criteria we consid- ered was the sphere of influence, from industry, academia and research to defence, finance, public service and politics. Recognising these different areas we divided the list into six catetories – Industry, Consulting, Academia/Research, Defence, Associations and Other – listing the top engineers in each of them. This year we broadened the scope of the Other category to capture engineers who hold influential positions outside engineering. We found they all look back at their engineering beginnings as excellent launching pads for their careers. To allow for the expansion of this category we had to set the bar a little higher in some of the other categories. As for citizenship and location, we in- cluded engineers working in Australia independent of their citizenship as well as Australian engineers working overseas. The final composition of the list is 41 in Industry, 15 in Consulting, 15 in Academia/ Research, 9 in Associations, 6 in Defence and 14 in Other. We did not rank the names, as the level of influence in the different areas would have been very difficult to compare. In recognition of this year being the Year of the Young Engineers we added an extra category of Young Engineers/Newcomers to the Top 100. We selected 10 engineers up to and including the age of 35, who are already outstanding in their career achievements. Overall, this year there are only three women in the Top 100 list. But the Young Engineers category at least has another two. I was assisted in the selection process by a panel of four retired engineers who all had distinguished careers and are still very active – David Croft, General Peter Gration, Emeritus Professor Rolf Prince and Martin Thomas – as well as internationally renowned leadership consultant Margot Cairnes (see side bar). Inevitably the selection process contained a subjective element and we don’t imagine everyone will agree with our choices. But the list demonstrates the breadth of engineers in influential positions and the great opportunities the profession offers to its young graduates. ■ Our selection process was assisted by an advisory panel of five. They were: Margot Cairnes, director of corporate transformation and leadership consultant Zaffyre International and regular columnist of Engineers Australia. Electrical engineer David Croft, former chief executive and managing director of Transgrid, NSW. Civil engineer General Peter Gration, former chief of the Australian Defence Force. Chemical engineer Emeritus Professor Rolf Prince, former head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Sydney University and past international president of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. Mechanical engineer Martin Thomas, past president of Engineers Australia and former international operations director of Merz Australia. ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA JUNE 2005 33 33-34 g - Top Intro 33 6/2/05, 8:34 PM