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Top 100 : 2012
Barry Broe, 53 Coordinator-General, Queensland Government, Brisbane Civil engineer, University College Dublin, Ireland BARRY BROE was appointed coordi- nator-general in March. In his first 28 business days in office he made 25 statu- tory decisions. As of at 10 May 2012, the coordinator- general had 29 projects under active environmental impact assessment, worth $84.1 billion. "The coordinator-general s role is unique in Australia and probably the world in being an independent statutory role responsible for such major decision- making," Barry Broe said. He said that engineering has given him "a fantastic base degree and discipline that has allowed me to work on some of the more interesting infrastructure and engineering projects around the world". Engineers are influential because of their technical skills, the esteem and credibility in which they are held, and the difference they make to people s lives, he said. Before his appointment, Broe was manager of infrastructure at Brisbane City Council. He was previously director of group transport planning and policy at Transport for London in the UK. Broe completed a master of engineer- ing and technology at the University of Queensland. Geoff Brown, 54 Chief, Royal Australian Air Force, Canberra Mechanical engineer, Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (now University of Southern Queensland) AIR MARSHAL Geoff Brown became chief of the Royal Australian Air Force in July 2011. It is made up of about 13,500 full-time personnel, supported by 2800 reservists and 900 civilian public servants at 11 major bases across Australia. According to Brown, engineers in the RAAF need to be able to identify and solve problems, and be good communica- tors. "With a large organisation such as Defence, the results are only ever a team effort. I have found that being able to communicate across moving themes and issues is critical to keeping the people across the organisation motivated and their drive is critical to achieving our mission," he said. "After graduating from a pilot s course in 1981, my first posting was to Amber- ley to fly Chinooks. It was at Amberley where I achieved Captaincy within eight months. I was given the opportunity to lead a small group of RAAF personnel flying Chinooks on exercises for two to three weeks. I feel very fortunate to have been given the chance to lead a team so early on in my career which provided me with the grounding and experience to learn all areas of operations, from lo- gistics through to servicing an aircraft. It is this leadership experience that guides my decisions today as chief of Air Force." PHOTO: CPL ANDREW EDDIE/DEFENCE Geoff Garrett, 64 Chief Scientist, Queensland Government, Brisbane Metallurgist, Cambridge University, UK DR GEOFF Garrett has a particular in- terest in leadership and management in public service and research organisations. In 2010 he coauthored a book Herding Cats, where "cats" are academics and researchers. According to him, the trick is "to know that it is a lot harder to push them to a destination than it is to tempt them to an outcome. That is, of course, what makes managing them so challeng- ing and so rewarding. "There is usually no culture of unifor- mity. Command and control approaches do not prosper. Time scales, to get things done, may be lengthy, if not sometimes glacial. Disagreement is ubiquitous. "This means that the staff of academic institutions and the staff of research insti- tutions can indeed require a set of leader- ship and management skills somewhat different from -- but of course with many parallels to -- those often considered more characteristic of the world of commerce, industry and finance. The carrot will certainly predominate over the stick , and the carrots will vary. There is a place for guile and political acumen." According to Garrett, an influential engineer needs a mixture of a good track record, judgement, intelligence and emo- tional intelligence, and strategic ability. "Former US secretary of state General Colin Powell summarised it well, I reckon: Look for intelligence and judgement and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see round corners ." Public Service 63 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA | JUNE 2012 TOP 100 COVER STORY