Whether they are working on-site or working behind the scenes to deliver inspired design or cutting-edge community engagement practices, this year’s National Association of Women in Construction Awards for Excellence show just how influential female talent has become in shaping the Australian construction industry.
The awards were hosted by NAWIC’s New South Wales Chapter on August 23 at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney.
The awards are a clear expression of the progress being made by Australian women in construction.
According to NAWIC NSW President Sarah Hogan, the awards are a clear expression of the progress being made by Australian women in construction.
“From the apprentice, to the first-year university student, to the CEO, women are now recognised for their contributions, and they enjoy more career opportunities than what we could have imagined even a few short years ago,” Ms Hogan said.
“A sustainable and successful workforce of women in construction and property must start at the grassroots level. NAWIC’s sustained efforts have helped more women to lead, learn, collaborate, network and celebrate excellence—and as we do, the depth and breadth of our female talent pool expand.”
The Laing O’Rourke Award for Business Woman of the Year was presented to Alison Mirams, Chief Executive Officer of Roberts Pizzarotti.
Ms Hogan described Ms Mirams as a “visionary businesswoman” who has “risen through the ranks from contract administrator to lead Australia’s newest construction firm.” Prior to her appointment to the new Tier One firm, Ms Mirams held senior roles at Lendlease and Multiplex.
“Alison has a strong commercial expertise and significant site experience, making her an exceptional role model for women in our industry. Passionate about growing the female talent pool, Alison is a mentor, speaker and promoter of women and girls in construction,” Ms Hogan said.
The John Holland Award for Team Innovation was presented to Kylie Cochrane, Aurecon’s Global Lead, Communication and Stakeholder Engagement, and her team.
Ms Cochrane led her all-women team in a game-changing, technology-enabled approach to stakeholder engagement on the Novo Rail Alliance’s Wynyard Station Upgrade project.
They utilised digital innovations including virtual reality, 3D modelling and a new app, NovoView, developed specifically for the project. The team’s approach ensured the 110,000 commuters that pass through the station each day were both informed and involved in the upgrade project as it proceeded.
The HASSELL Award for Innovation in Design went to ADCO’s Senior Design Manager, Elizabeth Creswell. Ms Creswell was the senior design manager on the $60 million Shellharbour Civic Centre project. The complex, 5 Star Green Star project incorporates a library, 350-seat auditorium, council chambers, local history museum, three levels of local government office space and a landscaped plaza featuring trees and a children’s water play area in a man-made creek.
The judges praised the way Ms Creswell overcame numerous design challenges on the project.
“Elizabeth applied cutting-edge technology and worked closely with multiple tradesmen, craftsmen and artists to deliver the three-dimensional curved roof and bespoke interior, while also meeting strict sustainability benchmarks,” they said.
The Procore Scholarship for Future Leader was presented to acoustic engineer Meisha Stevens from Wood & Grieve Engineers.
Ms Stevens told Jobsite she became an acoustic engineer after having worked as a sound engineer. She had noticed how room design influenced the sound she was able to achieve and moved into the engineering aspect so she could “make rooms sound better.”
It is a field that has growing importance for projects, she said. The emphasis on sustainability is a driver; acoustic performance is part of rating systems such as Green Star and WELL.
As a result, acoustic engineering is becoming “integrated into the whole schematic” of projects, from design to construction and commissioning.
“There is an acoustic consultant on almost every job now,” she said.
The judges noted that as well as her engineering talents, Ms Stevens has led a change management process to support women in engineering and construction.
“Whether she’s hosting a workshop or cultural diversity celebration, encouraging networking or mentorships, Ms Stevens has had a lasting impact on her business culture and the industry,” they said.
Lendlease Crystal Vision Award for Advancing the Interests of Women in the Construction Industry – Sara Haslinger, for her work as an executive director at Infrastructure NSW.
Roberts Pizzarotti Award for Contribution to a Project’s Development – Angela Jeffery, Project Director with Health Infrastructure on the Hornsby Hospital Redevelopment Project.
MPA Award for Achievement in Construction, Refurbishment and Fitout – Michele Biruski, Stockland, for her work on the $414 million Green Hills Retail Centre redevelopment.
CPB Tradesperson Scholarship – Taylor Louise Perrin, trained cabinetmaker, and junior estimator and project manager at Capital Veneering.
Acoustic Logic Award for Contribution to Sustainability – Amy Julie Hogan, National Sustainability for Stockland Retirement Living.
CBRE University Scholarship – Erin Louise Gonthier, currently completing a Master of Sustainable Built Environment at the University of NSW.
Hear Alison Mirams tell the story of building a tier-one Australian construction company. Ms. Mirams is this year's winner of the Laing O’Rourke Business Woman of the Year and Chief Executive Officer of Roberts Pizzarotti. Click here to watch the webinar.