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Event Speakers

Dr Sean Sweeney

Chief Executive Officer at City Rail Link
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    Dr Sean Sweeney began work as the Chief Executive Officer of City Rail Link Ltd on 2 July 2018.

    Dr Sweeney is an engineer with a PhD in construction economics from the University of Melbourne.

    After graduating in engineering from the University of Auckland, Dr Sweeney spent seven years working on the development of Te Papa in Wellington before heading overseas to work in the USA and Europe and then settling in Australia.

    In Australia, he delivered a programme of major public infrastructure in Victoria and ran a top tier Australian construction firm. More recently he established and implemented a $2.5bn prison construction programme for New South Wales.

    On his appointment, City Rail Link Ltd board chair Sir Brian Roche said Dr Sweeney brought a wealth of relevant and current experience to the position, as well as a strong academic background.  He said both of these put the CRL project in a great position as it heads towards the delivery of major contracts.

Paul Blair

Chief Executive Officer at Infrastructure New Zealand
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    Paul Blair is the CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand, the nation’s highly respected peak infrastructure body. Paul is responsible for the leadership of Infrastructure New Zealand, including objective setting, strategy development, thought leadership, staff management and execution of its organisational plan.

    Paul is passionate about developing Infrastructure New Zealand into the leading Thought Leadership Network in Aotearoa. Our vision is for all New Zealanders to enjoy the benefits of world class infrastructure, living more prosperous, environmentally sustainable, culturally and socially rich lives. Infrastructure New Zealand plays a unique leadership role in bringing the diverse sectors and thought leaders in our public and private sector network together.

Ainsley Simpson

Chief Executive Officer at Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia
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    As CEO of ISCA, Ainsley fosters partnerships to advance sustainability; enabling industry to deliver infrastructure for our all communities.

    She has worked in an executive level at ASX listed organisations, with operational roles in the public sector. Her journey with ISCA has included the deployment and continuous development of IS Rating Scheme, as well as actively investing in building capacity in the ANZ infrastructure industry.

    Prior to migrating to Australia, she actively participated in multi-scale housing and civil infrastructure projects in Southern Africa. Project involvement spans environmental assessment and management for transport infrastructure as well as utilities, including transmission assets, water networks, waste facilities and telecommunications. With a keen interest in building capacity and accelerating approvals processes, she specialised in the development of local and state government decision-support tools for sustainable planning and management.

    Ainsley has academic credentials in business management and environmental science.

Andrew Eagles

Chief Executive Officer at New Zealand Green Building Council
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    Andrew is a qualified economist with more than fourteen years’ experience in the built environment. Working for consultancies, associations, government and built environment charities, he has a wealth of knowledge in housing, market mechanism, advocacy and the construction supply chain.

    Andrew joined the New Zealand Green Building Council in September 2016 as Chief Executive. The New Zealand Green Building Council is the country’s leading not-for-profit for the sustainable built environment. As well as exemplary research, the NZGBC oversees Homestar and Green Star the award winning certifications for New Zealand homes and buildings. NABERSNZ, the tool for confirming performance of offices in use, is also rising in popularity.

    Andrew is sometimes asked to speak on panels.  There are many great women speakers in the construction and property sector.  Andrew has made a commitment to not speak on all male panels.  The NZGBC can assist in connecting you with speakers if that would be of use for your event

Jo Hendy

Chief Executive at Climate Change Commission
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    Jo led the Secretariat of the Interim Climate Change Committee and oversaw the Committee’s inquiry into renewable electricity, prior to the establishment of the Climate Change Commission. In her former role as Director of Research and Analysis for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, she led independent environmental investigations into issues including sea-level rise and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Jo also spent seven years working for Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics, and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Science (Meteorology).

Kerry Griffiths

IS Technical Director
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    Kerry has been involved with ISCA for many years as the Technical Director of one of our valued members, AECOM, and also as the Co-Chair of the NZ Working Group. Dr Griffiths also completed a PhD on how to enhance sustainability outcomes through the use of sustainability rating tools in infrastructure. She is well versed in all things infrastructure sustainability and brings with her many years of experience in this field.

Berenize Peita

Social Outcomes Manager at Link Alliance
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    Experienced Social Outcomes Manager and Māori Cultural Advisor with a demonstrated history of working in the construction industry and education sector. Skilled in Facilitation, Coaching, Negotiation, Mediation and Leadership. Strong community and social services professional with Post Graduate and Master's degrees from the University of Auckland, University of Waikato and Te Whare Wananga o Aotearoa. 

Louise Aitken

Chief Executive Officer at The Ākina Foundation
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    Louise is a strong advocate for social responsibility and impact, driven to make meaningful change by putting positive impact at the heart of our economy. She leads a talented and passionate team of impact, procurement, investment and consulting experts, providing support, capability and thought leadership both across New Zealand and internationally.

    Louise joined Ākina in 2016, following a successful corporate career, which included the management of New Zealand’s largest corporate social responsibility programme. She sits on the Board of the Impact Enterprise Fund (New Zealand’s first impact investment fund) and on the National Advisory Board for Impact Investing Network Aotearoa New Zealand.

Paul Davies

Head of Market Capability at Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia
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    As ISCA’s Head of Market Capability, Paul Davies’ role is to improve the sustainability awareness and training needs of the infrastructure industry, along with overseeing ISCA’s advocacy priorities. Paul previously worked for 3 years on the Operations, Trains and Stations delivery phase for the Sydney Metro Northwest metro rail link, both in the Executive Leadership Team and as the Senior Sustainability Manager.  Paul has a 40 year career in infrastructure, engineering, transport, commercial consulting, not-for-profit, small business, member services, science and technical standards. He is an ISCA Accredited Sustainability Professional, a Lead Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner, and an ID9 Certified trainer.

Daniela von Rabenau

Director at CIRCULR
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    Daniela graduated from a master’s in engineering studies in 2005 and since then she embarked on a journey which took her from contaminated land to construction and mining environmental management, landing lead roles in major projects. Her work has taken her around the world from Australia to New Zealand, China, Vietnam, Argentina and Peru.

    After being an entrepreneur all these years within big corporations, she decided to take the leap and go it alone. She set up camp as a boutique environmental consultancy – Circulr – and now dedicates her time to ethical and ecologically sustainable development.

Steve Killeen

Chief Executive Officer at Downer New Zealand
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    Steve was appointed CEO of the New Zealand business in January 2017. He is a senior executive and director with over 25 years’ experience in the delivery of social infrastructure including transportation, water, energy & communications.

    Steve joined Downer in 2004 and he has held a number of senior operational roles including Executive General Manger, Northern Region and Executive General Manger, Infrastructure. He was a member of the New Zealand leadership team for eight years. Prior to his appointment as New Zealand’s CEO, he was Downer’s Group Executive Manager, Strategy and Development. Before joining Downer, Steve held senior positions in both consulting and contracting business in the UK.
    Steve hold qualifications in business, management and engineering including a Master’s Degree in Engineering Studies from Auckland University.

Meg Wrixon

Sustainability Communications Specialist
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    Meg is a senior sustainability professional with more than 20 years' business experience. Meg provides strategic sustainability advice to clients across Infrastructure, Government and Corporate sectors. Specific to the infrastructure sector, Meg is an Independent Verifier, IS Trainer and an ISAP. She advises projects from set-up phase through delivery to apply the Infrastructure Sustainability tool and has worked on several projects and rating submissions across Design, As Built and Operations phases for some of Australia's major infrastructure projects; NorthConnex, Sydney Metro Northwest (SVC & OTS), Ararat Wind Farm, Adelaide Airport, Western Sydney Airport (Early Earthworks) and most recently Parramatta Light Rail.

Rosie Mercer

General Manager Sustainability at Ports of Auckland
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    Rosie is responsible for the management and delivery of the Ports of Auckland Sustainability Strategy. The strategy adopts a triple bottom line approach and includes the port’s ambitious target to be a zero emission port by 2040 and transformative goals for community and stakeholder engagement.   Rosie has been responsible for the development of the port’s Hydrogen Demonstration Project which forms a pivotal stage in the port’s emission reductions roadmap.  As a civil engineer, Rosie is a Member of Engineering New Zealand and before moving in to her sustainability role spent a decade delivering projects in the transportation sector, including, ports, airports and highways.  She also spent time delivering reconstruction projects in Afghanistan with the New Zealand Defence Force.  Rosie is also Deputy Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel for the Provincial Growth Fund.

Mike Burrell

Executive Director at Sustainable Business Council NZ
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    Prior to this Mike was New Zealand’s High Commissioner for South Africa, with accreditations to 11 countries across the Southern Africa region.

    Before this Mike was Director of Sustainable Economic Development for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In 2015 he was New Zealand’s charge d’affaires to Myanmar.

    Prior to joining the foreign ministry Mike was CEO of Aquaculture New Zealand, representing New Zealand’s aquaculture industry.

    Previously he was with international consulting firm LECG, where he advised industry, government and international agencies on economic policy and strategy.

    Mike has over 25 years’ experience in leadership and consulting roles in New Zealand, UK, Africa, Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region.

    Mike has degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Canterbury. He is married with two children. 

Ralf Kessel

Project Manager, Architect (NZRAB, AK Berlin, ARB UK) at Concrete New Zealand Inc.
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    Ralf has worked as a project architect for a number of Berlin based practices for around 15 years. During this time he was involved with a series of large-scale developments, apartment designs, hotel projects and institutional facilities.
    As a registered European architect, Ralf also spent five years in Ireland, where as part of a prestigious Dublin based practice he worked on commercial and medium-rise residential projects. Ralf's extensive list of achievements have integrated a range of aesthetic and practical concrete applications, including precast panels, in-situ floor slabs and concrete masonry.
    Ralf joined Concrete NZ in March 2009 as a Project Manager to advise and teach on architectural concrete topics, publishing solutions for the NZ Building Code, as well as compiling best practice advice for architectural concrete in residential and commercial applications.
    Ralf has recently been responsible for the development of Code of Practice for Weathertight Concrete and Concrete Masonry Construction and the Apartment Design Guide, and is also heavily involved with the delivery of weathertight and concrete masonry focused training.
    Since May 2019, Ralf is also the convenor of the Concrete NZ Sustainability Committee.

Monique Cornish

IS Verifier
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    Monique has 20-years’ experience as a sustainability professional, working across the building, infrastructure and construction sectors in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas, providing support to corporate, government and NGO clients on the risks and opportunities associated with creating a sustainable, resilient built environment.

    Monique is an IS accredited professional and verifier, a contributor to v1.2 and v2 of the IS framework, and a Member of the Institute of Directors, New Zealand.

Maria Manidaki

Water Investment Planning Advisor
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    I am a Chartered Engineer with 17 years of post-graduate experience in investment planning, design, and asset management in the water industry. I have been specialising in carbon management, including energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy technologies and carbon reduction in construction across the infrastructure value chain. My asset management experience has been mainly targeted at water utilities and regulators advising on good operational practices, asset management strategies, business case development and technical assessments/due diligence of their investment plans.

    I am currently Mott MacDonald’s technical lead for Net Zero Carbon responsible for co-ordinating our cross-discipline skills required for helping clients meet their net zero carbon aspirations. I have been recently leading a number of strategic net zero carbon and carbon management projects in the UK, such as the Water UK Net Zero Carbon Roadmap, New Zealand Watercare’s carbon baseline, UAE’s first asset owner for embedding PAS 2080 amongst others.

    I am a member of the UK Green Construction Board, Infrastructure Working Group (where I am in close contact on strategic carbon issues in UK construction with various asset owners, contractors, product/material suppliers), I have been a co-author of the Infrastructure Carbon Review and lead technical author of PAS 2080: Carbon Management in Infrastructure and am a visiting lecturer on Low Carbon Infrastructure at Cranfield University, UK.

Tracy Davis

Ngati Whatua o Keipara and Orakei Member
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    Inherited kaitiakitanga and manakitanga responsibilities guides our engagement across all infrastructure projects in Tamaki Makaurau. The development and utilisation of cultural health indicator frameworks for each project allows for indigenous knowledge to influence outcomes for both the environment and communities.

David Bell

Construction Market Manager at InfraBuild Australia
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    Working within the Market Development & Innovation Team, his national role is focussed on developing and deploying innovative steel solutions for the Australian construction and infrastructure markets.

    This includes working with project teams to deliver steel outcomes for specific projects as well as the development and deployment of initiatives focussed on insight, sustainability, project and product solutions.

    David graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Civil/Structural Engineering (Honours) degree and is a current ISAP (Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional) to ISv2.0.

Paul Gofton

Business Development & Sustainability Manager - Australasia at Vital Chemical Pty Ltd
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    With over 30 years’ of experience in various roles, Paul endeavours to provide a high level of support to clients, focussing on the development of tailored, project specific integrated environmental management systems.
    As an ISAP with a focus on innovation and continuous improvement, Paul is now able to identify how and where Vital products can support businesses to develop and deliver sustainable outcomes across Australasia.   

    Based in New Zealand, with a working knowledge of the New Zealand Resource Management Act 1991 and Australian legislation, Paul can provide advocacy and liaison between varying parties’ interests to reach pragmatic, affordable and sustainable solutions in order to minimise and mitigate the environmental impact of project implementation.

    As Paul’s role encompasses a wide range of Australasian projects and industries, his increasing knowledge base and field experience can transfer good practice and innovation between sectors, whilst supporting clients to integrate ISCA environmental management principles into their business model.

Jon Tomsett

Sustainable Product Specialist at Cirtex Civil
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    Originally from the UK Jon made New Zealand his home during an extended OE that started in 1999.  For the last 15 years he has engaged in the Environmental Services Industry for construction and infrastructure.

    Jon joined Cirtex in mid-2019 as the Sustainable Product Specialist which he sees as an excellent opportunity to help drive more sustainable outcomes for industry with a broad scope of projects across New Zealand and Australia.  With a core purpose of “Innovatively supporting the development of sustainable infrastructure” Jon, the Cirtex Directors and the wider team see the recent events as a unique opportunity to continue the search for better ways to do things.  Never has there been such an important time for the infrastructure industry to lead economic recovery across New Zealand and Australia. 

    This needs to be done with a view to leveraging the maximum economic, social and long-term environmental benefits available to us when we collaboratively engage early in the design phase.  Cirtex sees its core purpose and duty to assist the industry with the implementation and application of the latest industry innovations that add value to our client’s projects, from concept through to completion.