01 September 2016 - Aurecon, a global engineering and infrastructure advisory company, is delighted to announce that a number of its people and one of its projects were recognised at the recent 2016 Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Aon Engineering Excellence Awards.
The prestigious CESA Awards, now in its 44th year of existence, celebrates innovation, quality, outstanding workmanship and professionalism in the industry. This year, Dr Gabrielle Wojtowitz was the winner of the Young Engineer of the Year award while the Kasane-Kazungula Villages’ Sanitation Project, located in Botswana, was the winner of the Best International Project award.
Dr Wojtowitz, a geotechnical engineer at Aurecon, is a rising star in her field who has made significant contributions to the industry and the profession through her involvement in the SAICE Geotechnical Division, corporate Young Professional Forums and her university work as an external examiner and invited lecturer. In addition, she has published a number of papers. In line with her innovative problem solving capability, one of her unique technical strengths is her advanced numerical modelling capability that she employs extensively on projects to understand soil-structure interaction and the mechanisms governing a design. She has worked on a variety of projects in the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Wojtowitz leads the Modelling Forum at Aurecon in the Ground Engineering team, which she uses as a platform to simultaneously develop skills within the team and train junior engineers as well as for knowledge transfer. In addition to leading the geotechnical design on many wind farm projects, Wojtowitz is increasingly called on to act as design reviewer of wind turbine foundation designs. Among her many awards, Dr Wojtowitz won the prestigious Cooling Prize in 2011 awarded by the British Geotechnical Association (BGA) in the United Kingdom.
A registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa and a member of the Golden Key Honour Society, Wojtowitz holds a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, BEng (Hons) Geotechnical Engineering and BEng Civil Engineering from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. As the winner of the Young Engineer of the Year Award, Dr Wojtowitz will be afforded the opportunity to attend the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Infrastructure Conference in Morocco.
“I congratulate Gabi Wojtowitz on her well-deserved award,” says Ferdi Nell, Aurecon Managing Director – Africa. “During this month in which we celebrate women, the CESA Aon award was both a fitting tribute to the status that this young geotechnical engineer has achieved in the industry, as well as an example of the success of Aurecon’s diversity and gender equity policies.”
Aurecon’s win in the Best International Project category for the Kasane-Kazungula Villages’ Sanitation Project, was especially noteworthy for displaying the company’s strength at collaborating with the client, the Botswana Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control, and all other stakeholders in the project to optimise the long-term benefits for the local community.
Aurecon designed the highly successful and innovative vacuum-based solution for the project to improve the sanitation system in this northern part of Botswana. Close to the Chobe River and the border with Zambia, the two villages form an important tourist hub for the country with visitors to the Chobe Game Reserve or Victoria Falls staying in hotels and lodges in the area. Since the vacuum sanitation system was commissioned in October 2015, it has operated exceptionally well. The successful design and reliable performance of the system has created a basis for its replication in other areas of Africa. The project has contributed significantly to an environment that is healthier – especially, less prone to outbreaks of waterborne diseases – and more conducive to the growth of tourism.
“I am proud of our project team on achieving this prestigious CESA Aon Engineering Excellence award,” says Nell. “The project required an exceptionally creative design solution, while its execution had to contend with a difficult location and logistical challenges. The outcome will serve the local community well and far into the future, and epitomises Aurecon’s strength at bringing ideas to life.”