An innovative trial of a five-day work week, a six-month parental leave policy and nation-building infrastructure projects that are growing the female talent pool are among the winners of the 2022 NAWIC Awards for Excellence.
The NAWIC Awards for Excellence is Australia’s largest awards program for women in construction and is hosted by the National Association of Women in Construction NSW Chapter.
More than 1100 guests gathered at the ICC Ballroom in Sydney for the second time in 2022 – following a hiatus in 2021 – to celebrate 40 finalists in 13 categories.
“The NAWIC Awards for Excellence showcase the achievements of women in construction, building and related industries, and applaud the hard work of women, men and organisations to make our industry more diverse and inclusive,” said NAWIC NSW President Georgia Coulston.
Construction giant Laing O’Rourke was presented with the night’s most prestigious prize, the Lendlease Crystal Vision Award, for an equal parenting policy that provides six months’ leave on full pay regardless of gender.
“Laing O’Rourke is committed to a 50/50 balance between men and women by 2033. Achieving this ambition demands a suite of innovative policies, and this industry-first approach will help Laing O’Rourke to improve gender balance while attracting and retaining the top talent.”
Transport for NSW picked up three awards, with Deanne Forrest, Ashma Husna and Vivien Murnane applauded for their work on nation-building infrastructure projects.
“The NSW Government is delivering the largest transport infrastructure program in Australia’s history and is using this opportunity to not only shape our cities, but to also create a stronger and more diverse workforce. The collaboration between client, contractor and subcontractor is essential to see true change and ensure a sustainable future for our industry,” Coulston noted.
Global Head of Design at Hassell, Liz Westgarth, was named Richard Crookes Business Woman of the Year. “Liz is passionate about the contributions that women make to design and is championing diversity to deliver creative design solutions that best reflect communities and drive systematic change.”
Roberts Co, Health Infrastructure NSW and University of NSW took home the John Holland Award for Team Innovation for a “game-changing” trial of a five-day work week on the Concord Hospital Redevelopment Project that has since been adopted by other construction companies.
John Holland’s Construction Director Steve Kiddle was named the ADCO Champion of Change for a multi-faceted approach to diversity. “Steve faces complex engineering challenges every day and works with his team to innovate and push boundaries to overcome them. He has applied the same approach to diversity with a genuine commitment to create an inclusive environment for all,” Coulston said.
“We applaud the leaders and innovators who have stepped up their efforts over the last year to enhance inclusion, flexibility and wellbeing across countless companies and to demonstrate why a diverse construction industry is in the best interests of our entire nation.”
2022 NAWIC Awards for Excellence
AWARD 1: Transport for NSW Tradesperson Scholarship
Winner: Allyssa Hudson
A third-year building and construction apprentice with Lendlease, Allyssa Hudson left behind university study for, in her words, the satisfaction of hands-on work and the opportunity to contribute to society. She has since worked on several significant projects while meeting site challenges head on. Allyssa has developed a strong skills base and is working towards a site manager role.
AWARD 2: Ferrovial Project Manager of the Year Award
Winner: Ashma Husna, Transport for NSW
As Senior Project Manager on the $2.6 billion Sydney Gateway, Ashma Husna is expertly navigating the complexities a challenging, high-traffic construction site. Her investment in relationships and proactive communication has accelerated construction timelines, while her commitment to team building has fostered a collaborative culture so one of Australia’s most complex projects is delivered on time and budget.
AWARD 3: CPB Contractors Award for Contribution to Sustainability
Winner: Megan Lohrisch and Ciere Kenny, Lendlease
After working together for less than three years on as many projects, Megan Lohrisch and Ciere Kenny found a way to reduce embodied carbon with a new aluminium façade panel system. By thinking beyond business-as-usual, the pair sourced a supplier that uses hydroelectricity in aluminium smelting, driving down embodied emissions by 34%, and achieving an Australian first that will hit our shores in late 2022.
AWARD 4: Roberts Co Award for Contribution to a Project’s Development
Winner: Deanne Forrest, Transport for NSW
As the Project Director on the $2 billion M12 motorway, Deanne Forrest is passionate about delivering infrastructure projects that are sympathetic to the local environment, heritage and community. Balancing commerciality with big picture thinking, Deanne embraced innovative project management approaches, elevated engagement with Indigenous people and prioritised community needs by relocating, rather than closing, a popular bike trail.
AWARD 5: Laing O’Rourke Future Leader Scholarship
Winner: Emily Crozier, Laing O’Rourke
A civil engineer working on the Transport Access Program at Pymble Station, Emily Crozier is passionate about creating meaningful places which reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. Whether it’s her engagement with UTS’ Women in Engineering program, her volunteering in schools to promote women in STEM, or her pioneering outreach program for Indigenous high school students, Emily exemplifies a commitment to give back.
AWARD 6: MPA Award for Achievement in Construction, Refurbishment and Fitout
Winner: Erin Doyle, Mirvac
As construction Project Manager for the heritage-listed Locomotive Workshops in South Eveleigh, Erin Doyle repurposed the space to create everything from a grocer to a gym, a blacksmith to a one-of-a-kind subterranean storytelling travelator tunnel. Erin’s thoughtful reimagining has delivered an exemplary heritage refurbishment for the people of New South Wales.
AWARD 7: Hassell Innovation in Design Award
Winner: Amy Clark, Aurecon
Lead Engineer with Aurecon, Amy Clark delivered several innovations on the upgrade of Sydney’s Central Station Metro. The project, compared to “open heart surgery”, constructed the top level first before tackling the deep excavation beneath. Amy also championed ambitious 3D modelling, digitisation and a commitment to sustainability that reduced materials and embodied carbon by 40%.
AWARD 8: Richard Crookes Business Woman of the Year
Winner: Liz Westgarth, Hassell
As Global Head of Design at Hassell, Liz Westgarth has spearheaded two transformational strategies: one to achieve gender balance across the business by 2028 and another to ensure all Hassell’s design projects are net zero emissions by 2030. With Liz as champion, Hassell has hit the 30% mark for women in leadership positions and is on track to achieve its net zero target.
AWARD 9: John Holland Award for Team Innovation
Winner: Roberts Co, Health Infrastructure NSW and University of NSW
When Roberts Co bid for the Concord Hospital Redevelopment Project it challenged the status quo with a five-day work week. Health Infrastructure NSW was on board and a partnership with UNSW was formed to study the impact. ‘Project 5: A Weekend for Every Worker’ identified improvements to work-life balance, work hours and job security, and its evidence-based approach makes a strong case for change.
AWARD 10: Generate Property Group University Scholarship
Winner: Miranda Swift, Charles Sturt University
Studying a double degree in civil engineering while balancing full-time work as Northrop’s youngest cadet engineer in Newcastle, 21-year-old Miranda Swift already has five years of construction industry experience under her belt. An ambassador, mentor and keynote speaker, Miranda is developing sustainable design solutions while partnering with an Australian workwear company to create an inclusive range of office wear for young girls.
AWARD 11: ADCO Champion of Change
Winner: Steve Kiddle, John Holland
Described as a “force of nature” by his colleagues, Steve Kiddle is Construction Director on the $4.9 billion Rozelle Interchange Project. Steve’s commitment to diversity is multi-faceted. Among his 51 Women in Construction ‘pledges’, Steve has collaborated with subcontractors to create employment opportunities for female tradespeople, championed flexibility, mentored female engineers, developed a school STEM outreach program and introduced unconscious bias training.
AWARD 12: Acoustic Logic Regional Woman of the Year
Winner: Vivien Murnane, Transport for NSW
Wollongong-based Vivien Murnane balances strong technical skills with innovative thinking to deliver infrastructure that enhances connectivity, builds community and respects local heritage. The $258 million Batemans Bay Bridge replacement project, for instance, involved complex deconstruction in a sensitive marine park. Vivien developed new technical requirements for projects over navigable waters that are now being used across NSW.
AWARD 13: Lendlease Crystal Vision Award for Advancing the Interests of Women in the Construction Industry
Winner: Laing O’Rourke
“Any gender, any birth, any child” is Laing O’Rourke’s industry-leading equal parenting policy that provides six months’ leave on full pay regardless of gender. The policy also includes parents who adopt, welcome a baby via surrogacy, or suffer a pregnancy loss. Laing O’Rourke currently has 24 women and 16 men taking parental leave, and the policy raises the bar for construction companies around Australia.