Resources engineering advisory board

Debra Stirling

Debra Stirling, Non-Executive Director, Vicinity Limited

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 has been a non-executive director of Vicinity Limited (VCX: market cap. $12.4B) since 2011, 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. 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 four years as a NED at Vicinity have 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 strengths include:

  • 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, environmental management, community relations and customer relations, change management, advocacy campaigns.

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

Russell Caplan

Russell Caplan, Independent Non-Executive Director, Aurizon

Russell is a highly-regarded and experienced Chairman and Non-Executive Director across major listed companies in the oil and gas, mining, manufacturing and logistics industries. He also has extensive executive experience within the global oil and gas sector.

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.

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

Qualifications: LLB, FAICD, FAIM

Robert Edwardes

Robert Edwardes, Executive Vice President Development, Woodside Energy Ltd

Robert is Executive Vice President Development at Woodside Energy, with responsibility for the delivery of onshore and offshore capital projects, in addition to drilling, subsea and reservoir management operations. He is also responsible for the Browse, Sunrise and Leviathan business units.

Robert has 35 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 10 years with Worley Parsons, 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 - a deepwater oil development in Angola. This was a ground breaking and complex project which was executed within budget and on schedule.

At WorleyParsons, his initial role was to develop their floating production capability. He then assumed responsibility for strengthening 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 holds both a Bachelor degree and Doctorate in Civil Engineering.

Chris Judd

Chris Judd, Former CEO and Managing Director at Senvion Australia

Chris has been a senior executive within the Suzlon Group of companies (including Senvion Australia), since 2004, working in Australia and overseas. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Senvion Australia in 2013 - 2017.

He commenced his career as a civil and structural consulting engineer with Ove Arup in London.

A specialist in commercial contracting and operational delivery, he has held numerous professional, executive, general management, project management and engineering positions internationally over the last 24 years, including with PSA Projects, Hutchinson Telecoms, Bovis Lend Lease Consulting and Connell Wagner.

His LinkedIn profile is at

Brian McCarthy

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

Rob Papworth

Rob Papworth, MMG Limited, Group Manager, Talent Management & Recruitment

Rob Papworth is a dedicated HR professional with a specialisation in the design and management of internal recruitment functions and graduate recruitment. In August 2011 he joined MMG Limited, an international base metals mining organisation to manage their recruitment globally across all locations including Africa, Australia, South East Asia and Nth America. In recent times his role has grown to also include ‘talent’ activities and various continuous improvement initiatives.

Prior to MMG, Rob managed the recruitment function and graduate programme for Ericsson across Australian and New Zealand as part of a Talent2 Recruitment Services contract.

Rob has 18 years’ experience across internal, agency and outsourced HR models. Prior to this, Rob recruited for a variety of organisations including Tenix, Coles Myer, CSC Australia and a range of departments in the Federal Government.

He has an undergraduate Diploma in HR and is currently studying for a Masters in Human Resources Management. He is passionate about graduate recruitment and sustainable partnerships between the tertiary and business sector.

Rob is an active member of the Minerals Council of Australia and sits on the MCA Workforce Committee and Gender Subcommittee.

Peter Rogers

Peter Rogers, Chairman, International Consultants Centre Pty Ltd

Peter Rogers is currently Chairman of International Consultants Centre Pty Ltd, Chairman of Monash Engineering & IT Foundation, and President of Rotary Club of Melbourne.

Peter studied chemical engineering at Monash University as one of its first intake in 1961. He joined ICI Australia, where his various roles included five years based in London headquarters of ICI PLC. He was appointed a board member with ICI PLC subsidiaries, and a board member of ECA Ltd. He subsequently established ECA’s Asia Pacific operations.

Peter joined the Board of Monash University Engineering Foundation, and was appointed Chairman in 2009. He has served two Deans Prof Tam Sridhar AO and Prof Frieder Seible – and three Vice Chancellors. In this period the Foundation assisted implementation of a range of important initiatives including the Engineering Leadership program, three Research institutes including MIME, the MITI program, and Mining & Resources Engineering. Rhodes Scholarships were awarded to graduates from the Leadership program in 2012 and 2013. The Foundation’s endowment has reached $35m towards a target of $100m.

Peter was appointed to the board of Hepburn Wind in 2011 - Australia’s first community-owned wind farm.

Peter is the 99th President Rotary Club of Melbourne - the oldest and largest and the leading Rotary Club in Australia.

Peter has been the recipient of a number of awards including: Sir Alexander Stewart Scholar at Monash University 1966-1967,Sir John Monash Distinguished Service Medal - Engineering 2008, Rotary Paul Harris Fellow 2008, Monash University Distinguished Alumni Award 2011, Fellow Engineers Australia 2012, University of California San Diego, Jacobs School of Engineering Leadership Medal 2013, Honorary Doctor of Laws, Monash University 2014

Bre-Anne Sainsbury

Bre-Anne Sainsbury, Associate Professor , Deputy Head of Mining and Resources

Deputy Head of the Mining and Resource Group, Bre-Anne has developed a broad skills base in all aspects of the mining and resources development cycle. She has worked as a consultant and operational engineer at mine sites, refineries and renewable energy projects in Australia and the USA.

Expert in the caving mining method, Bre-Anne has acted as a Feasibility Design Lead and third party reviewer to many caving operations around the globe including New Afton Mine - Canada, Palabora Mine - South Africa, Cadia East/RIdgeway Deeps/Northparkes - Australia, Kiruna - Sweden, Oyu Tolgoi - Mongolia, Bingham Canyon - USA, Chuquicamata - Chile, Far South East – Philippines.

Bre-Anne has worked as an operations engineer at Marathon Ashland Petroleum, St Paul Park Refinery, Minnesota and the Chevron Richmond Refinery, Oakland, California.

During her time in the US, Bre-Anne acted as design and construction manager for the location and installation of 60+ wind turbines at the Blue Canyon Wind Farm, Oklahoma, and design manager for 1500+ wind turbines at the Pensacal Wind Farm, Pomeroy Wind Farm, Groton Wind Farm, Providence Heights Wind Farm, Mehoopany Wind Farm and the Oasis Wind Farm Project, and also Repower, in Ontario, Canada.

Bre-Anne has practical international operations and design experience across the US, South Africa, DR Congo, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Philippines, PNG, Indonesia, New Zealand, Mongolia and Sweden.


Frieder Seible, Vice-President (Academic), Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Information Technology

Professor Frieder Seible is Academic Vice-President (Industry Engagement), Dean of the Engineering Faculty and Dean of the Information Technology Faculty at Monash University. He is an Elected Fellow of the US Academy of Engineering and a Foreign Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Professor Seible’s expertise is in the analysis and modelling of structures and their behaviour simulation in extreme events such as earthquakes and bomb blasts. His research achievements include over 600 publications and technical reports.

As the Dean of the Faculties of Information Technology and Engineering at Monash University, Professor Seible’s responsibilities include strategic planning and operations, faculty-wide research and education initiatives, academic affairs, and Monash-wide cooperative programs. As an Academic Vice-President, he is responsible for a range of external and internal engagement initiatives at Monash.

Professor Seible is not currently overseeing students or researchers.

Research Interests

From a structural engineering perspective, natural and man-made hazards, e.g. earthquakes and bomb blasts, have many commonalities; most important are the unknown force and deformation demands on our built environment which often lead to local structural damage, and in the absence of redundancy, progressive structural collapse. Research has shown that seismic design and retrofit concepts, e.g. confinement in columns, can go a long way to also harden structures against air blast loadings, and that redundancy in a structural system can prevent progressive structural collapse for either load case. Thus, modern structural design needs to incorporate a multi-hazard risk assessment and hazard mitigation strategy based on a comprehensive performance assessment of the entire structural system’s response to all critical loads. To accomplish this, validated models and simulations of the performance of complex systems need to be developed. Validation of these simulation tools, in turn, requires large or full-scale structural testing that is representative of actual damage patterns and failure modes, as well as realistic loading patterns and rates. Issues of validated simulations in the hazard reduction of structures under natural and man-made hazards are also involved.

Chris Walker

Jeffrey Walker, Head of Department of 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 i) environmental sensing, ii) earth system modelling, and iii) optimal convergence of model predictions with observations through data assimilation.

Deming Whitman

Deming Whitman, Consultant and Business Advisor

Deming is a former Director in executive search at Downing Teal, one of the world's leading recruitment consultancies for the natural resources, engineering, utilities, infrastructure and construction sectors.

He is currently Chair of the Gaia Coaching Group Advisory Board and Principal at consulting firm Whitman and Associates.

Deming’s career includes over 20 years at WMC Limited and BHP Billiton, in various operational and corporate roles from Manager of the Stawell JV Gold Mine to Group Manager Business Development & Planning.

He was Senior Adviser at Canadian security, risk and governance firm SADIA Security Solutions International from 2009-2012, and 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 the new Resources Engineering strategy, as AMIRA, which grew strongly under Deming’s stewardship, is heavily engaged in bringing together industry and other parties in mining and resources-related research projects.

His Linkedin profile is at