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Top 100 : 2012
James Graham, 64 Group Chief Executive, Gresham Partners, Sydney Chemical engineer, University of Sydney REFLECTING ON the economic uncertainty of the past 12 months, Gresham Partners co-founder and group chief execu- tive James Graham took an optimistic stance. "During the last year we have seen more stress on the economy and its many participants," he said. "The rewarding experience in this environment is to be part of a culture which can adapt to and positively respond to some of those changes." Indeed, Graham s Australian-owned investment and advisory house Gresham Partners has managed to flourish despite the precarious economic climate, recently acting as adviser to the Foster s Group during the $11 billion recommended takeover bid from SABMiller. Graham said his role within the company has also evolved over the past several months, now allowing him to provide more strategic input to clients and directors of businesses across the full spectrum of Australian industries. While corporate financial advice may seem a far cry from his chemical engineering background, Graham credited his early en- gineering experience with his success in the finance realm. "My early work- ing years with plant operations gave me invaluable experi- ence in understand- ing the drivers of industry and the wider aspects of risk, both of which are crucial in assessing and managing ma- jor capital commit- ments at a corporate level," he said. Bob Every, 65 Chairman, Wesfarmers, Perth Metallurgist, University of NSW AS THE non-executive chairman of Wesfarmers -- a conglomer- ate with some 500,000 shareholders and $50 billion revenue to its name in 2011 -- Dr Bob Every appreciates the value of the problem solving skills provided by an engineering background. "My formal university training at both the bachelor and postgraduate level honed my skills and confidence in problem solving," he said. "It particularly improved my ability to look at complex issues, identify the key issue and address it." Every also serves as chairman of Boral, which is considered to be Australia s largest building and construction materials supplier, and is involved in numerous charities. In 2011, Every was named an Officer of the Order of Australia, an honour which he said made him feel privileged to be an Australian. Peter Farrell, 70 Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ResMed, San Diego, US Chemical engineer, University of Sydney DR PETER Farrell s career at the forefront of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) di- agnosis and treatment has earned him considerable peer recognition over the past year. Farrell, who founded ResMed in 1989 and has been a director of the company since its inception, was most recently chosen to be a member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) -- an independent engineering think tank comprised of around 2000 peer-elected members. The NAE is a member of the National Acad- emies, which spawned from a congressional act of incorporation signed in 1863 by US president Abraham Lincoln. Prior to his admission to the NAE this year, Farrell was named a Gordon Fellow by the University of California San Diego s Jacobs School of Engineering in 2011, and in July 2010 he was named Chairman of the Executive Council of the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine. ResMed, which is listed on both the NYSE and the ASX, is expected to have revenues of more than $1.3 billion in 2012 and currently employs around 3500 staff globally. The market capitalisation of the company is around $4.6 billion. Since its original stock market listing in 1995, ResMed has had 69 consecutive quarters of top-line growth. 46 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA | JUNE 2012 COVER STORY -- TOP 100