Resources engineering advisory board

Debra Stirling (Chair)
Non-Executive Director, MegaRail

A highly-experienced company director and senior executive, Debra has held senior executive positions for over 20 years reporting to CEOs in four ASX Top 20 firms – across mining, building and construction materials, agriculture, manufacturing and retail.

She was a non-executive director of Vicinity Limited (VCX: market cap. $9.2B) from 2011 until November 2017, and a member of the Risk & Compliance (previously Audit & Risk), HR & Remuneration and Nominations Committees.  She is Chair of the Monash Mining & Resources Advisory Board, and Acting Chair/Member of the Lae Centre of Excellence for Technical Training Taskforce in PNG.  She is a non-executive director of Mission Australia and a director of MegaRail, a private consortium engaged in a $16bn proposed high speed rail project.  Debra was previously a senior executive and Executive Committee member in Rinker, CSR, Coles Myer and Newcrest Mining, leading global teams of up to 800 people.

She has extensive experience across multiple aspects of large, listed firms, from strategy to SHEC.  The past six years as a NED at Vicinity involved completely restructuring and rebuilding the company, including CEO and senior management appointments, capital structure, strategy, asset portfolio, governance, culture, risk etc. and the 2015 takeover/merger with Novion. Particular experience includes:

  • Building high performance cultures in Australia and internationally, lifting engagement and performance (Employer of the Year 2012, Employer of the Year [Mining & Resources] 2012, 2013).
  • Extensive stakeholder and reputation management, including rebuilding corporate reputations
  • Widespread M&A involvement:  over 70 acquisitions; the CSR demerger, Australia’s then largest takeover (Rinker) and Newcrest’s acquisition of Lihir Gold
  • All aspects of HR, investor relations, national/international government relations, corporate affairs, global environmental management and community relations, customer relations, change management, advocacy campaigns.

Debra is a former financial, business and political journalist and editor.


Associate Professor Stephan Arndt, Director for Resources Engineering, Monash University

Stephan Arndt is the Director for Resources Engineering at Monash University. He joined academia from an industry experience background, where he was leading teams successfully bringing innovative geomechanics technology into the resources sector in roles as manager, team leader and geomechanics advisor. Co-founding his own engineering consulting business resulted in a start-up company that significantly changed the landscape of numerical modelling in the international mining industry and received 2nd place in HighGrade's 2010 industry survey in the category ‘Best niche/specialised consultancy’. He continued to advance technology as Manager Geomechanics & 3D Modelling at Coffey Mining and, following an opportunity to work in the oil and gas sector, with Baker Hughes Australia as Regional Advisor 3D – Geomechanics R&D.

With 25 years’ experience in advanced simulation methods he has worked in applications of rock mechanics, seismicity, discrete fracture networks, coupled multi-physics simulations and constitutive models. He also worked with the Baker Hughes Palo Alto Innovation Centre and Lawrence Livermore National Lab for hydraulic fracturing simulation research. His research interests include innovation, new technology and cross-industry synergies; scalability of modelling methods; integration of machine learning and optimization; better quantification of risk under uncertainty; and using high performance computing, visualisation and virtual reality in decision making.

Stephan has extensive consulting experience in the mining sector consulting for mines in Australia (BHP, Rio Tinto, Xstrata, Newcrest, MMG, St. Barbara) and overseas (Codelco Norte, Mina Antamina, Debswana, Petra Diamonds, Anglogold Ashanti, Freeport Indonesia). He performed numerous courses, university lectures and workshops in industry and education and holds a Ph.D. in Fracture Mechanics from Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany.

Russell Caplan, Non-Executive Director, Aurizon Limited

Russell is a well-known Chairman and Non-Executive Director, and has extensive experience across the global oil and gas industry.

In a 42 year career with Shell, he held senior roles in the upstream and downstream operations and corporate functions in Australia and overseas. From 1997 to 2006, he had senior international postings in the UK, Europe and the USA. From 2006 to July 2010, he was Chairman of the Shell Group of Companies in Australia.

He held the Chairmanship of Orica Limited from 2007 until his retirement in December 2015.   He is also a former Non-Executive Director of Woodside Petroleum Limited and a former Chairman of the Australian Institute of Petroleum.

Russell is a Non-Executive Director of Aurizon Limited, and is also Chair of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Audit, Governance and Risk Committee.

He is Chairman of Horizon Roads Pty Ltd, the owner and operator of the Eastlink toll road concession in Melbourne.

Russell is Chairman of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust, and a former Chairman of the Australian Institute of Petroleum.

Qualifications: LLB, FAICD, FAIM


Professor Elizabeth Croft, Dean of Engineering, Monash University

Professor Elizabeth Croft joined Monash in January 2018 as Dean of Engineering.  Previously, she was with the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she was Senior Associate Dean, Faculty of Applied Science, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Marshall Bauder Professor in Engineering Economics. She has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Master of Applied Science from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Professor Croft is recognised internationally as an expert in the field of human robotic interaction. As principal investigator for a world class robotics lab within UBC, she has successfully led large-scale collaborative research projects utilising robots alongside people in manufacturing, and guided multidisciplinary initiatives with General Motors, the DLR (German Aerospace Centre) and other industry partners.

Professor Croft has an exceptional record of advancing women’s representation and participation in engineering. Most recently, as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, she worked with partners in funding agencies, industry, academe, and the education system on comprehensive strategies to improve women’s participation and retention in the STEM disciplines at all level.

Her outstanding contributions to education and research have earned Professor Croft considerable acclaim, including the NSERC Accelerator Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (2007-10), the Alan Blizzard Award, Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in 2008, the Women of Distinction Award in Education, Training and Development from the Vancouver YWCA in 2013 and WXN’s top 100 most powerful women in Canada 2014.  She is a fellow of the ASME, Engineers Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Robert Edwardes, Executive Vice President Development, Woodside Energy Ltd

Robert is Executive Vice President Development. He is responsible for design and execution of onshore and offshore capital projects, in addition to the engineering function. He is also responsible for the Browse, Scarborough, Senegal, Sunrise Canada and USA business units.

Robert has 40 years of resources industry experience spanning the full breadth of operations and projects, including HSE and operations integrity, production technology, development planning, provision of corporate strategy and support, and delivery of major capital projects.

Before joining Woodside in May 2012, Robert spent ten years with WorleyParsons, following a 25 year career with ExxonMobil.

In his last five years with ExxonMobil he was the Project Director responsible for execution of the Kizomba deepwater oil development in Angola. This was a ground breaking and complex project which was executed within sanctioned budget and on schedule.

At WorleyParsons his initial role was to develop their floating production capability. He then assumed responsibility for strengthening of their project delivery systems, in addition to managing the Australia Hydrocarbons business following the acquisition of Parsons E&C.

From 2006 he was responsible for various corporate support functions.

In 2008 he assumed the role of Managing Director of Worley Parsons operations in the US and Latin America regions.

He joined Woodside in his current role in May, 2012, and is currently also Chair of the West Australian Ballet.

He holds both a Bachelor degree and Doctorate in Civil Engineering.

Jeff Harding, Non-Executive Director, Infrastructure Capital Group

Jeff Harding is one of Australia’s leading pioneers in renewable energy, and a global expert on energy and infrastructure investment.

As Managing Director of Pacific Hydro Limited from 1995 to 2005, he established the company as Australia’s leading developer of renewable energy projects, both domestically and offshore, with hydro power projects in the Philippines, Fiji and Chile.  Experienced with all renewable technologies including geothermal, run of river hydro, solar, wind and bio-gas, Pacific Hydro worked closely with communities to create shared value where it operated, assisting in the creation of many employment-generating small businesses such as coffee plantations in the Philippines, plant nurseries in Chile and wind tower and blade manufacture in Australia.

Jeff was chairman of Carnegie Clean Energy, one of Australia’s first, listed renewable energy companies, from 2009-201, and of Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd, from 2007-2012.  He has been a chairman and director of multiple international energy companies, including Luzon Hydro Corporation in the Philippines and Proven Energy Holdings Plc (UK).

Originally trained as a civil engineer, Jeff commenced his career as a junior engineer with Vic Roads, subsequently moving to companies including Ford Asia Pacific, Frigrite Limited, McGraw Edison and electronics firm, BWD Group, where he became Managing Director of their largest listed subsidiary – Corporate Development Ltd.

In 1988, Jeff was appointed Managing Director of Compair Australia Limited, Australia’s largest manufacturer of air compressors and a major distributor of underground drilling and loading equipment. He was General Manager of Brambles Equipment Division from 1990 to 1994.

Current directorships include Infrastructure Capital Group. Qualifications include a BE(Civil) Hons, BA (Economics) Hons, Master of Science (Industrial Admin.) from Purdue University, US, and FAICD.

Chris Judd, Chief Executive Officer, UPC Renewables Australia Transmission Pty Ltd

Chris has been a senior executive within the renewable energy sector since 2004, presently with the UPC Renewables Group and formerly with Senvion and the Suzlon Group of companies, working both in Australia and overseas.  He commenced his career as a civil and structural consulting engineer with Ove Arup in London.

A specialist in turnkey (EPC) contracting and operational delivery, he has held numerous professional, executive, project management and engineering positions internationally over the last 28 years, including with Senvion, Suzlon, Hutchinson Telecoms, Bovis Lend Lease Consulting, Leightons and Connell Wagner.  He was previously on the Board of the Clean Energy Council, the peak industry body for the renewable energy sector in Australia.

UPC Renewables is headquartered in Hong Kong with Australian offices in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney.  UPC is a global, pioneering, renewable energy group that was established over 25 years ago.  UPC develops, builds and owns large scale solar, wind, pumped hydro and transmission assets, having invested over 6BUSD to date with 3.5GW of assets currently in operation.

His LinkedIn profile is at

Brian McCarthy, Infrastructure Consultant

Brian is a senior industry consultant and former executive in the infrastructure projects and construction sector, with over 30 years of experience.

He is a specialist in business improvement and commercial negotiation, and has significant strategic ability in developing strategies for the negotiation and resolution of issues.

Brian is experienced in the procurement, design, tendering, construction, commissioning, and commercial resolution of infrastructure projects across a wide range of industries and public authorities, including mining (both open cut and underground); ore treatment; water storage, treatment and distribution; power generation and distribution; gas production; coal seam gas treatment facilities; ports; rail facilities; urban freeways and ship building.

Since 2011, Brian has worked as an infrastructure consultant.  Previous positions include:

  • Principal, Evans and Peck (infrastructure consultants) 1998 to 2011
  • Design Manager, Melbourne Citilink Project 1996 to 1998
  • State Manager Building, John Holland Construction 1992 to 1995
  • General Manager, Turner Corporation 1991
  • Executive Director, General Manager Construction, Costain Australia 1981 to 1990
  • Construction Manager, Dillingham Australia 1968 to 1981
  • Design Engineer, Milton Johnson and Associates 1966 to 1968.

Brian completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, in 1989, and the Construction Management Residential Course at NSW University in 1976.  He completed a Batchelor of Engineering (Civil) at Monash University in 1965

Peter Rogers, Emeritus Chairman, Monash Engineering & IT Foundation

Peter Rogers is Emeritus Chairman Monash Engineering & IT Foundation, a Member of the Monash Resources Engineering Advisory Board, Chairman of Australian Rotary Health District D9800 Committee, Past President of Rotary Club of Melbourne, and Assistant Governor of Rotary International District 9800.

His early career was with ICI Australia (Orica). He worked in agricultural chemicals and plastics. He was appointed Staff Manager of ICI Australia in Melbourne in 1980.

Peter worked at ICI PLC headquarters in London from 1984-89. ICI had 120,000 staff worldwide, half outside the UK. He was a director of ICI’s subsidiary and associated companies including ICI Bangladesh, and ICI Bangladesh Trading Company. He was a director of the London-based board of Employment Conditions Abroad Ltd (ECA) for eight years. He later established the International Consultants Centre, a consulting company he led for over 25 years, until sold to employees in 2015.

Peter was Chairman of the Monash University Engineering & IT Foundation Board from 2009-2017, during which period the Leadership Program, MITI and three Research Institutes were established. The Foundation’s endowments reached $50m. The Faculty of Engineering was ranked highest in Australia in 2015 and 2016 by Times Higher Education Rankings, and highest in industry engagement and fundraising.

Peter was appointed Chairman of the Faculty of Engineering’s 50th Anniversary Steering Committee in 2010 to produce a history of the Faculty. In 2015 he led the corporate fundraising of the Monash Pioneers, to erect a statue of Sir John Monash at the University.

Peter joined the Board of Hepburn Wind in 2011 – Australia’s first community owned wind farm located at Daylesford, Victoria.

In 2015, he was elected 99th President of the Rotary Club of Melbourne - Australia’s first and largest Rotary Club.  In 2016 he became Chair of Australian Rotary Health for District 9800.

Peter graduated in chemical engineering from Monash, M App Sc from Melbourne University, and received his PhD from Monash in 1974. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia. Awards include a Monash Distinguished Service Medal and Rotary Paul Harris Fellow in 2008, Monash Distinguished Alumni in 2011, and the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering medal in 2013. In 2014 he was awarded a Monash Honorary Doctor of Laws.

Mark Ruston, Head of Mining, Newcrest Mining Limited, one of the two Foundation Sponsors of the Resources Engineering program

Mark is Head of Mining at Newcrest Mining and has responsibility for defining enterprise mining technical standards, undertaking assurance of mining material risk controls, providing technical review for major projects and M&A opportunities, and providing guidance and recommendations to operations to improve mining performance and risk management. The role is recognised as the peak technical authority for both open cut and underground mining across Newcrest.

Mark has 30 years of mining industry experience working with both mine owners and mining contractors, initially in the design, operation and management of a diverse array of mining operations, and for the last decade at the executive management level, focused on overall business return and strategic growth, in a global market.

Before joining Newcrest, Mark worked for mining contractors Macmahon Holdings Limited, Golding, Roche and Thiess over a 15 year period, with nearly the same time again working for mining houses Anglo American, BHP, and initially in the brown coal mines of the SECV in Latrobe Valley Victoria.

Mark holds a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering (through Monash University), a Graduate Diploma in Mining Engineering, and a Master of Business Administration.


Professor Jeffrey Walker, Head of Department – Civil Engineering, Monash University

Professor Jeffrey Walker received his BEng(Civil) and BSurv degrees in 1996 with Hons 1 and University Medal from the University of Newcastle, Australia, and received his PhD in Water Resources Engineering from the same University in 2000.

His PhD thesis was among the early pioneering research on estimation of root-zone soil moisture from remotely sensed surface soil moisture observations. He then joined NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre to implement his soil moisture work globally.

In 2001, he moved to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Melbourne as Lecturer, where he continued his soil moisture work, including development of the only Australian airborne capability for simulating new satellite missions for soil moisture. In 2010, he was appointed as Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Monash University where he is continuing this research. He is contributing to soil moisture satellite missions at both NASA and ESA, as a Science Definition Team member for the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission and Cal/val Team member for the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission respectively.

Research Interests

A combination of:

  • environmental sensing,
  • earth system modelling, and
  • optimal convergence of model predictions with observations through data assimilation.
Deming Whitman

Deming Whitman, Deming represents MMG Ltd., one of the two Foundation Sponsors of the Resources Engineering program

Deming has over 40 years of experience in the resources industry. His career includes over 20 years at Western Mining and its successors in a variety of executive positions in both operations and corporate roles across a broad range of functions.

He was CEO of the international mining technology services company/industry association AMIRA International Ltd. in Melbourne from 2004-2009. This latter role is particularly relevant to Monash University and its Resources Engineering strategy, as AMIRA, which grew strongly under Deming’s stewardship, was and is heavily engaged in bringing together industry, research institutions and governments in mining and resources-related research projects.

As a consultant he has advised individual entrepreneurs and SME’s on development and implementation of 'fit-for-purpose' solutions for clients that consider their culture, resources and capability.

He has until recently served as Chair of the Gaia Coaching Group and was International Adviser at Canadian security, risk and governance firm SADIA Security Solutions International from 2009-2012.

From 2011 to 2014, Deming was Account Director at Downing Teal, a leading executive search consultancy for the natural resources, engineering, utilities, infrastructure and construction sectors.

His Linkedin profile is at