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Top 100 : 2012
Ross Barrett, 70 President, Civil Contractors Federation of Australia, Canberra Civil engineer, University of NSW ROSS BARRETT is the national president of the Melbourne-based Civil Contractors Federation of Australia, representing over 2000 corporate members in an industry of some 350,000 people. "My career is engineering," he said. "Like many others, I began as a hands on en- gineer then progressed to management, which I consider as just engineering involving situations and engineering involving people. The skills required to assess and cope with engineering challenges are no different to those required for solving most other types of problems. That is why so many civil engineers are successful in a variety of fields; they tend to be problem solvers and not problem creators. They are adaptable which allows them to handle the unexpected. They know that there is a logical sequence required to deal with any issue. "Successful civil engineers have a level of commonsense that is not always evident in other professions. With success comes the opportunity to be a positive role model and therefore more influential. When commonsense is combined with reputation, integrity and the ability to connect with stakeholders then the ability to influence is inevitable." He is also involved in a number of other organisations. "I was very satisfied to see Community Housing Canberra transformed from a challenged community housing provider to an efficient, disciplined and more productive organisation over my four years as chairman." On Australia Day this year Barrett received a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to construction. Another recent highlight was taking his wife, four children and their partners, and 10 grandchildren on a holiday to Hawaii. Chris Champion, 59 Chief Executive, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia, Sydney Civil engineer, University of Technology, Sydney IPWEA includes over 2000 members and a wider network of over 10,000 public works professionals. Chris Champion said that his engineering training has provided a sound basis for manag- ing the association. "It allows me to positively contribute in a professional sense, not just as an administrator," he said. To be influential, an engineer must be a good communicator but this was not an innate strength. Rather, it is a skill that Champion had to develop, particularly in giving presentations. "This has opened opportunities to present our message to a broader and often international audience," he said. "It is important to be able to distil more complex messages down into succinct key issues, also to have a capacity to think strategically but able to keep an eye on the detail. "My appointment by the US Federal Highways to their Asset Management Expert Task Group is allowing me to have an ongoing input into shaping their policies and approaches for all state departments of transportation. Our international work in Canada is rapidly developing. At home, the launch of our new IPWEA online communities of practice has been particularly successful and well received. It is using professional / social media to connect our members and the sector professionally. Also, publication of our infrastructure financial management guidelines is con- necting infrastructure managers, financial managers and auditors and paying real dividends." P HOTO: AUSTRALIAN CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT Russell Scott, 66 President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), Melbourne Chemical engineer, Monash University RUSSELL SCOTT took up the mantle of president of IChemE in May. The organisation is head- quartered in the UK and has some 34,500 members in 120 countries. He said the institution needs to attract more engineering students and develop stronger links with industry. Scott is also chief executive of ThyssenKrupp Uhde s global oil and gas business line. "My father was also a chemical engineer so my choice of profession was virtually pre- ordained. I started my career in a petrochemicals company and after six years moved into the services industry, and progressed through process engineering, business development and project management to general management," he said. "Engineers can exert influence through both technical excellence and leadership, and both are equally important to showcase our profession. Every engineer will have a natural tendency to one or the other and should develop that tendency into a strength with the assistance and advice of his or her peers and mentors." TOP 100 COVER STORY ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA U 37 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA | JUNE 2012