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Top 100 : 2012
Mary O'Kane Gary Liddle Public Service Gary Liddle 59 Chief Executive of VicRoads, Victorian Government, Melbourne Civil engineer, University of Melbourne GARY LIDDLE heads VicRoads, a statutory authority respon- sible for 22,000km of roads and 3133 bridges. It employs around 3000 staff at more than 50 offices around the state. According to Liddle, engineering has given him an abil- ity to identify issues and find solutions. "The things that make an engineer influential are no different to those that make others influential. The ability to work with people, to understand their needs as well as your own and to have them acknowledge, respect and ultimately move in the direc- tion you are heading. A recognition that if you start with a strong view of where you are going, you can make some compromises along the way without affecting the desired outcome is also important. However, as engineers, we do need to get better at developing a story around what we are trying to achieve," he said. "The past year has seen the completion of the upgrade of the M1 freeway, including the very complex strengthening of the West Gate Bridge, with its world-class managed motorway technology. We have also continued to look at new ways of providing information to users of our system through smart phones, whether it be on the road, or completing a registration and licensing transaction. "The Children of Cambodia Foundation that we have set up with family and friends has continued to develop, with us now providing support to three primary schools and over 1000 children in the Siem Reap province of Cambodia." Mary O'Kane, 57 Chief Scientist and Scientific Engineer, NSW Government, Sydney Computer engineer, Australian National University "THE BEST engineers are able to see the big picture and take on projects which have a high impact on the community, the economy and society at large. Often these jobs are high risk and need strong strategic leadership," said Professor Mary O Kane. "As a young academic I was passionate about my research field of automatic speech recognition. It was then a new, leading-edge field and because it was a very expensive area, I had to raise significant funding for my group from a variety of public and private sources. Because I could see how the research could have great applications, I also built strong connections between my research group and groups around the world, particularly based in industry. All of this led to many more opportuni- ties including appointments to boards and committees where leadership is exercised by influence. "Raising awareness and making critical connections among people are among the key aspects of my role. Sometimes the message can resonate in unexpected ways among the wider community and in the media, such as in a recent speech I gave on innovation in education. I pointed out the kids we need to value as future entrepreneurs and economy-boosters are quite often troublemakers at school. Lots of successful people con- tacted my office to say they d been troublemakers and could identify with the point I was making!" She is also chair of the Australian Centre of Renewable Energy, which aims to support renewable energy technology and projects in an uncertain financial and policy environment. Warren King (front) and Michael Uzzell. P HOTO: FSGT JOHN CARROLL/DEFENCE 61 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA | JUNE 2012 TOP 100 COVER STORY