Design Academy, Aurecon


Aurecon Design Academy

The Aurecon Design Academy is an internal training and development programme that develops mastery amongst design practitioners at Aurecon. Its purpose is to elevate the quality and importance of design at Aurecon to the highest level enabling us to better serve our clients through design excellence and innovation.

The Aurecon Design Academy delivers advanced training to our best and most talented designers; nurturing their passion for great engineering design; improving their ability to think and collaborate in a transdisciplinary environment; and communicate their value through powerful storytelling.

Design Scholars enter the Academy and participate in a series of intensive face-to-face and distance educational workshops and study units. Participation in the three-year training programme acts as a pathway to becoming an Aurecon Design Director.

The Design Director training programme is a unique Aurecon offering aimed at developing practitioners who are ready for the future and are:

  • Passionate for technical mastery
  • Powerful storytellers
  • Transdisciplinary thinkers
  • Collaborative co-designers
  • Seekers of deeper meaning in their craft

Design Directors are Aurecon's most eminent practitioners and represent the pinnacle of our technical mastery. They play a key role in designing the most technically complex projects for our clients. Current Design Directors are invited into the Aurecon Design Academy as faculty members.

In leveraging our connections with leading universities, researchers and thought leaders from around the globe, our top industry professionals and external experts are guest teachers at the Aurecon Design Academy.

Aurecon’s Current Design Directors

Aurecon Design Directors are the custodians of the quality of our design. It is a position at the pinnacle of technical achievement within Aurecon and a position of authority and responsibility in respect of the quality and merit of our design.

Our Design Directors offer our clients a channel through which they can question everything, seek to understand change and partner to deliver great projects.

Dr Harry Asche
Design Director – Tunnels 

Harry has acted as design leader and design manager on a wide range of transportation projects involving tunnelling and rail. Harry’s expertise within tunnelling, includes understanding settlement induced by tunnelling, groundwater and the design of rock support across geotechnical diversity of forms.

Julian Briggs
Design Director – Water & Wastewater Treatment 

 primary focus is on process design and modelling of wastewater plants, nutrient removal and membrane bioreactors. Across projects, Julian has develop innovative treatment approaches through detailed design, construction, commissioning and early stages of operation.

Kylie Cochrane
Design Director – Communication and Stakeholder Engagement

With a career spanning over 25 years, Kylie brings deep experience in community and stakeholder engagement, strategic communication and issues management in the resources, energy, and community development sectors. She brings a unique perspective to the design and construction of infrastructure projects, elevating the value of a human-centred approach where end-users play a vital role in designing infrastructure that lives within communities.

John Hilton
Design Director – Bridges 

John is a highly experienced bridge engineer with a 40-year project history working on bridges within Australia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Africa. His experience encompasses a wide range of loadings, spans and structure types. John is passionate about real innovations in bridge design.

Susan Kitching
Design Director – Transport Land and Water

Susan is a highly experienced chemical engineer, specialising in designing wastewater and recycled water treatment plants. By bringing innovative water and wastewater solutions to life, Susan aims to create a better environment for present and future generations.

Tony Lavorato
Design Director – Structure

Tony has played key roles in the structural design of many complex and significant projects in Australia, Middle East and Asia. Tony has developed expertise in many aspects of structural engineering and possesses a keen interest in the relationship between structural design and the architectural form. He has received multiple awards for works as diverse as the complex Underpinning of Heritage Buildings, Tall buildings and most recently for Commercial Buildings. 

John Leech
Design Director – Industrial Machines 

John is one of Australia’s pre-eminent bulk materials handling engineers. He has led or guided the innovative design of a substantial proportion of the Australian resource industry’s export capacity. In 2016, John was recognised as one of Australia’s 50 most innovative engineers by Engineers Australia and create magazine

Stephen Logan
Design Director – Building Mechanical & Electrical (MEP) 

Stephen leads a team delivering structural and building services and specialist building sciences for the building construction industry. He has extensive experience in major project design, including sports stadiumsairport terminal buildings, casinos, large commercial office developments, hotels and resorts.

Ken O’Neill
Design Director – Bridges

With over 20 years of professional experience, Ken brings deep expertise in bridge design and construction. He leads more than 30 people in Aurecon’s NSW/ACT bridges team. Ken’s specialisation is complex and high-profile bridges from design through to construction, with an emphasis on strong constructability, safety and maintenance.

Arne Nilsen
Design Director – Ports and Marine

Arne is a leader of Aurecon’s port and coastal engineering practice. His specialisations include marine and industrial structures, seaboard bulk materials handling and ship loading systems, marine facilities for oil and gas projects, public ferry infrastructure and coastal engineering. Arne focuses on the resilience and adaptability of existing and new maritime infrastructure in the face of extreme environmental events – flooding, storm surges and cyclonic waves, for example.  

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