The integral role of engineers has been highlighted in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours, with Engineers Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans HonFIEAust CPEng among those recognised.
Dr Evans was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for “significant service to engineering, to standards and to medical technology”.
An electrical engineer by training, Dr Evans’s career has spanned corporate and not-for-profit roles at the forefront of engineering in Australia and globally, including as CEO of Standards Australia and senior executive roles at Cochlear Ltd and GE Healthcare.
Engineers Australia National President and Board Chair Dr Nick Fleming FIEAust CPEng said it was a well-deserved accolade for one of the country’s engineering leaders.
“Bronwyn is a tireless advocate for engineers and the benefits the engineering profession brings to our community, whether she’s speaking to schoolchildren, to politicians or to corporate leaders,” he said.
“Bronwyn exemplifies the sort of well-rounded engineer who is so valuable in our community, one who combines a track record of technical excellence with skills in leadership, diverse interests and networks, and a thirst for learning.”
While she was delighted to be appointed an AM, describing it as a “real thrill”, Dr Evans said recognition of the engineering profession as a whole was equally important.
“Highlighting the role of engineers as leaders and as thought leaders is really fantastic,” she told create.
“I think this is an opportunity to show and promote the importance of engineers to society and be part of the broader conversation.”
A passionate mentor of young engineers, Dr Evans hopes the recognition inspires others, particularly young women and girls, to join the profession.
“We need to draw on the talents of our entire community to develop the best engineering solutions,” she said. “One of my ambitions is for women to make up at least 50 per cent of the engineering profession in Australia, as it currently only sits at 14 per cent.”
Setting the standard
Dr Evans spent more than five years as the CEO of Standards Australia, where she helped improve the standards development process, and was on the President’s Committee at the international standards body, the ISO. Her work in this area was cited in her AM appointment.
“Standards are about safety, effectiveness and economic efficiency coming together to say ‘what does good look like for a whole industry, a sector and society?’,” she said.
“I see a strong link between having a framework of international standards and Australia’s role in shaping them to ensure our manufacturing is world class.”
Dr Evans holds herself to a goal of continuous learning, both academically — she has a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Wollongong — and learning from others.
“At Engineers Australia I have the opportunity to speak with engineers from all backgrounds, all perspectives and all age ranges, and to see the passion they have for making the world a better place,” she said.
“Australia needs engineers more than ever, in navigating the challenges of climate change, and succeeding in a global environment of rapidly-advancing technology. The engineering profession is essential to enabling Australia to have a successful, sustainable and safe society, today and into the future.”
Keeping up with the pace of change will be the main challenge for engineers of the future, Dr Evans said, and it’s this variability that has kept her passion for engineering strong over almost four decades.
“Engineering isn’t one thing. You can use your critical, creative thinking across a whole range of industries and areas of importance to society,” she said.
“What keeps me interested is always learning; that’s the gift an engineering degree gives you. For me, engineering provides an opportunity to keep thinking and inquiring and saying, ‘what else and how else?’.”
Look out for create’s round-up of the other engineers honoured in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday list tomorrow. Do you know someone we should include? Get in touch here.