Design Academy, Aurecon

Aurecon Design Academy

Aurecon Design Academy

Established in 2017, Aurecon Design Academy is our accelerator learning program for technical mastery and design excellence. Formalised by RMIT University into a Graduate Certificate in Design Management, Aurecon Design Academy aims to foster eminence and a human-centred, transdisciplinary approach to design problems, enabling us to serve clients through design excellence and innovation.

Each year, through a competitive application process, we invite our best and most talented design, engineering and advisory practitioners across our expertise and company locations to join the three-year program as Design Scholars. By participating in a series of intensive face-to-face and virtual educational workshops and study units, they:

  • Nurture their passion for great engineering design and consulting
  • Improve their ability to think and collaborate in a transdisciplinary environment
  • Communicate a shared vision through powerful storytelling
  • Elevate their technical mastery

Design Scholars are a select group of high potential candidates who are passionate about mastering their technical craft, have a deep desire to communicate the value of their work and how it impacts people/societies, and collaborate across disciplines beyond their own.

In leveraging our connections with leading international universities, researchers and thought leaders, we invite our top industry professionals and external experts as guest teachers at the Aurecon Design Academy to offer novel perspectives. Together with our leaders, they inspire Design Scholars to think and work inventively.

Upon graduation, we invite Design Scholars to become members of the Design Alumni network to support their continued growth along a pathway to mastery.

Aurecon’s Current Design Directors

Design Directors are Aurecon's most eminent practitioners and represent the pinnacle of our technical mastery. They are the custodians of the quality of our design and hold a position of authority and responsibility in respect of the merit of our design.

Aurecon Design Directors play a key role in designing the most technically complex projects for our clients. This provides our clients with a unique channel to question everything, seek to understand change and partner to deliver great projects.

Current Design Directors, as faculty members of the Aurecon Design Academy, also provide unique mentoring opportunities for the Design Scholars.

Dr Harry Asche
Design Director – Tunnels

With over 40 years’ experience, Harry has delivered global best practice solutions in his rail and tunnels projects across UK, Australia, Hong Kong, SE Asia and New Zealand. As a design leader and design manager on a wide range of transportation projects, Harry’s expertise within tunnelling includes understanding settlement induced by tunnelling, groundwater and the design of rock support across geotechnical diversity of forms.

In this article, Harry describes the key issues arising in road tunnel construction and presents a new design approach that provides owners with significant advantages during the operational phase.

Dr Harry Asche, Aurecon

Christian Bodner
Design Director – Tunnelling

Christian has 30 years of experience in heavy civil engineering design and construction. He has an in-depth understanding of key constraints and issues associated with tunnel engineering for major transport infrastructure and has been involved in various tunnelling projects, including Cross City Tunnel, NorthConnex, WestConnex Sydney, and Eastlink Melbourne.

As a Subject Matter Expert for tunnels, Christian has provided technical advice to Transport for NSW (TfNSW) on several major tunnelling projects, including Coffs Bypass, Wynyard Walk, North Strathfield Rail Underpass, South West Rail Link Hume Highway Tunnels, and the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale St Helena Tunnels.

More recently, he has also been engaged as Technical Advisor to TfNSW on the M6 Stage1 and Great Western Highway Central upgrade projects.

Christian Bodner, Aurecon

Julian Briggs
Design Director – Water & Wastewater Treatment

Julian has over 20 years’ experience in the water industry, having developed innovative treatment approaches through detailed design, construction, commissioning and early stages of operation. Julian is also passionately involved in national and international research and emerging trends, advising on advanced wastewater treatment, biosolids and reuse, and championing smart design solutions through modelling and process optimisation.

Julian is a key contributor to Project Gilghi, a breakthrough solar-powered water purifying system developed for remote Indigenous communities.

Julian Briggs, Aurecon

Dr Alecs Chong
Design Director – Bridges & Civil Structures

With a career spanning 23 years, Alecs’ expertise lies in the advanced structural analysis and design of complex and special structures under static and dynamic load conditions. His notable projects include the erection analysis of the West Kowloon Station long-span roof structure, the detailed design of the Macau Eiffel Tower, and the construction stage design of the Artist Square Bridge.

Alecs also leads a team in providing technical support on many technically challenging projects from Aurecon offices across the globe, including the Dubai Creek Harbour Tower.

In this article, Alecs offers a way to ensure immunity against disruption and remain one step ahead of the game.

Alecs Chong, Aurecon

Kylie Cochrane
Design Director and Managing Principal – Communication and Stakeholder Engagement

With a career spanning almost 30 years, Kylie has deep experience in community and stakeholder engagement, strategic communication and issues management in the resources, energy and community development sectors. Kylie’s unique perspective to the design and construction of infrastructure projects, elevating the value of a human-centred approach.

Kylie was awarded the Consult Australia 2018 Female Champion of Change and the IAP2 International Inspirational Leader in 2019.

In this article, Kylie discusses how to fuel community change with trust using a few simple principles.

Kylie Cochrane, Aurecon

John Hilton
Design Director – Bridges

John is a highly experienced bridge engineer with over 40 years of project history and an extensive portfolio within Australia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Africa. His experience encompasses a wide range of loadings, spans and structure types.

In 2016 John was awarded the Roads Australia Technical Excellence Award. In 2018 John was named by Engineer Australia as one of Australia’s 30 most innovative engineers and was also awarded the 2018 John Connell Gold Medal from Engineers Australia Structural College.

Recently, John brought together a team of subject matter experts and designed A-Bridge – a single system that would meet industry standards for all road types while offering a short construction time, low cost and very low maintenance.

John Hilton, Aurecon

Susan Kitching
Design Director – Water

Susan has more than 20 years of experience across a wide range of water projects, from options studies to detailed design and commissioning. She has extensive knowledge of wastewater and biosolids treatment for both green and brownfield sites and has developed designs for nutrient removal plants, MBR and recycled water systems.

By bringing innovative water and wastewater solutions to life, Susan aims to create a better environment for present and future generations.

Susan Kitching, Aurecon

Tony Lavorato
Design Director – Structures

In a career spanning nearly 30 years, 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 including; concept structural design, analysis and design of multistorey buildings, dynamic assessment of structures including machinery foundations, finite element analysis, complex underpinning of structures.

Tony has received multiple awards for works as diverse as the complex Underpinning of Heritage Buildings, Tall buildings and most recently for Commercial Buildings.

One of Tony’s most notable projects is 5 Martin Place, where his out-of-the-box solution ensured the continued perseverance of history’s legacy in our quest for modernity.

Tony Lavorato, Aurecon

John Leech
Design Director and Technical Director – Resources & Manufacturing

John is one of Australia’s pre-eminent bulk materials handling engineers with more than 25 years of experience specialising in the planning and design of bulk materials handling and storage systems for bulk commodity supply chains. He also has specialist experience with the design of special purpose machinery for materials handling systems and for design of moving architecture for stadia, hangars and specialist buildings projects.

John 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.

John introduces some of the typical interactions that exist between the components of a mine to ship bulk export chain in this article.

John Leech, Aurecon

Stephen Logan
Design Director and Capability Leader – Mechanical & Electrical (MEP) and Buildings

Stephen leads a global 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 stadiums, airport terminal buildings, casinos, large commercial office developments, hotels and resorts. Stephen has 25 years’ experience gained in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and London.

Stephen shares a performance-based approach to allow design flexibility and improve stadia fire safety in this article.

Stephen Logan, Aurecon

Ken O’Neill
Design Director – Bridges

With over 20 years of professional experience, Ken brings deep expertise in bridge design and construction. Ken has worked on multiple complex and high-profile projects from design through to construction. His specialisations include complex and high-profile bridges from design through to construction, with an emphasis on strong constructability, safety and maintenance.

Ken O’Neill, Aurecon

Arne Nilsen
Design Director – Ports and Marine

Arne is a leader of Aurecon’s port and coastal engineering practice. With over 20 years’ experience, 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.

In the wake of the devastating 2011 Brisbane floods, Arne and architect Brendan Cox rose to the challenge of developing a new design for the city's ferry terminals. Find out more about the world's first flood-resilient ferry terminals in this TEDx talk.

Arne Nilsen, Aurecon

Evelyn Storey
Managing Director, Queensland

A highly experienced structural engineer, technical director, and design manager, Evelyn is Aurecon’s Regional Managing Director for Queensland. She has extensive involvement in the delivery of built environment projects across transport, commercial, health and laboratory, education, residential and retail sectors, both in Australia and overseas.

Evelyn has over 34 years of experience and held diverse engineering roles, including the Structural Design Leader for GSK House, West London, and One Churchill Place in Canary Wharf, London. Evelyn has also led multi-disciplinary design teams on the award-winning Advanced Engineering Building at UQ and the Translational Research Institute at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Evelyn is a current Board Member and Deputy Chair of the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland and a member of the Structural College Board of Engineers Australia.

In this article, Evelyn explores the question ‘Can engineers un-engineer loneliness?’.

Evelyn Storey, Aurecon

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