Advisory board

The School of Engineering's Advisory Board (EAB) brings together representatives from various engineering segments Australia-wide. It advises on teaching and research direction and makes programs relevant so that our graduates get their careers off to the best start.

About our board

The Engineering Advisory Board (EAB) advises the School of Engineering on all aspects of a course or discipline being offering, including the skills, knowledge and attributes sought after by employers of graduates. Members provide advice on potential areas of development, including new disciplines or courses, and improvement opportunities for existing courses. The board also advises on potential applied and collaborative research, industry links, placement and consultancy opportunities.

Engineers Australia, Australia's peak industry body for engineers, has previously awarded specific commendation for our enthusiastic and strategic advisory board.

Meet our EAB members

Meet some of our experienced engineering advisory board members and hear what is in store for the future of engineering and how Deakin prepares our engineering graduates for the jobs of the future.

Meet our EAB members

Industry members

Tony Arnel - Chair of the Advisory Board

Global Director Sustainability, Norman Disney & Young (NDY)

Tony joined NDY in early 2012, following 12 years as Victorian Building Commissioner and Plumbing Industry Commissioner. During this time he was a founding Director of the Green Building Council of Australia (2002 – 2013) and was the Chair for five years between 2007 – 2012. He was an elected Director of the World Green Building Council (2006 – 2012) and was the Chair for three years between 2008 – 2011. At NDY, Tony is the company’s Chief Sustainability Strategist working across a global network of offices and all market sectors, including buildings, transport, industrial and utilities.

Over the past decade Tony has been a leader of the national and international sustainability movement, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, advocating economic growth and sustainability as being mutually entwined.

Tony continues to play a key role in the transformation of the Australian property market to sustainable practices. He is a board member of the Sustainable Melbourne Fund and more recently he was appointed by the Australian Government to the Board of the National Occupational Licensing Authority.

Tony is a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects and a Victorian Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia. He is the immediate past Chair of the Advisory Board to the School of Architecture and Building at Deakin University. He is past Chairman and Director of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Australia's largest arts festival. In 2009 he received the Australian Financial Review's 'True Leadership' Award and in March 2010 received the inaugural 'Leadership in Sustainability' Award from the Australian Institute of Architects. In August 2011 Tony received the 'Individual Award for Contribution to Sustainability' at the Melbourne Awards.

Nino Ficca

Non-Executive Director and Energy Industry Advisor (2020)

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), Deakin University
Graduate Diploma in Management, Deakin University
Advanced Management Programme, Harvard Business School, USA

Mr Ficca has almost 40 years’ experience in the energy industry having recently retired from his role as Managing Director of AusNet Services (ASX:AST), a role he held for over 14 years.

He currently serves as Non-Executive Director of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Transurban Queensland (TQ) and GESCA (Green Energy Supply Chain Australia). He is also a member of Deakin University Engineering Advisory Board.
He is also serving as Professor of Industry Engagement for Deakin University.
Mr Ficca is a previous director and the Chair of Energy Networks Australia. He was also formerly the Deputy Chairman and a director of the Energy Supply Association of Australia and Chair of CIGRE Australia.

Mr Ficca holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a graduate diploma in management from Deakin University. He has also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He is a fellow of Engineers Australia and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jason Allen

Managing Director, Iscar Australia

Jason Allen pursued his passion for engineering in his early years as a toolmaker, designing and manufacturing for the mould and die industry in Australia. Jason left Australia to work as Manufacturing Manager for an engineering firm in Bangkok, where he led a team of engineers to develop large, multi‐stage injection moulds servicing the packaging industry.

Jason returned to Australia to work for the engineering giant Sumitomo Electric Industries and was later invited to study hard materials and super hard materials in Itami, Japan, which further developed his engineering and Japanese language skills.

After returning from Japan, Jason joined Ringwood Super Abrasives, a company developed in affiliation with the Australian National University from the studies of the late Professor Ted Ringwood. During his time at Ringwood, Jason helped develop PCBN and PCD materials and worked closely with Professor L.C. Zhang from the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Sydney.

Jason is highly active in the precision manufacturing industry in Australia and has held the position as Managing Director of Iscar Australia for the past 12 years. 

Email Jason Allen

Jamie Baensch

General Manager, Air Radiators, Deputy Chair of the Advisory Board

Jamie is a successful General Manager and professional engineer, having led industrial and automotive product design and manufacturing companies in Australia and China.

After graduating, Jamie started his career working for Marand Precision Engineering developing special purpose machines tools. He then moved to Ford Motor Company as a Driveline Design Engineer followed by time at Tickford Engineering developing Ford performance and LPG vehicles.

Jamie then joined Air International. Air International is a Tier 1 automotive parts manufacturer specialising in the design and manufacturer of automotive heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Jamie’s career developed as Air International grew, starting as a Design Engineer then progressing through roles such as Design Manager, Project Manager and Business Development Manager.

In 2001 Jamie was given the opportunity to take a role as part of the businesses expansion into China, firstly supporting a Greenfields joint venture start-up plant in Chongqing and then as General Manager of Air International Shanghai. The Shanghai business is a joint venture company of 400 employees, designing and manufacturing automotive HVAC systems for Chinese vehicle manufacturers. Jamie’s efforts in this role were to transform the business by the application of Lean Manufacturing systems. Significant improvements in productivity and quality were achieved and new products and production equipment were introduced to increase the capability of the company.

Jamie returned to Australia in 2004 to take the role of General Manager for Air International in Australia. The Australian business designed, manufactured and supplied just in time HVAC systems to the Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore and Mitsubishi Magna. In this role Jamie’s task was to maintain profitability against the globalisation of the Australia automotive industry.

Jamie left Air International after 13 years in 2006 and established a consulting business focused on creating growth for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) by helping them leverage their existing capabilities to create new products. This led Jamie to a role with the Geelong Manufacturing Council as a Business Adviser for the Federal Government initiative, Enterprise Connect. Enterprise Connect aims to improve the productivity of international SMEs.

Jamie then returned to Marand Precision Engineering as Executive Director and was responsible for the implementation of Lean business practices to improve productivity and quality. He also led a number of projects developing undersea tidal turbines for electricity generation.

In 2010 Jamie joined Air Radiators as General Manager with the focus of building a world-class manufacturing business. Air Radiators employs 200 people and designs and manufactures industrial heat exchanges for trucks, trains, mining equipment and various industrial applications.

Jamie is also active in the industrial community as is a Chairman of the Geelong Manufacturing Council.

During his career Jamie has developed core competencies in business management, product development, project management and manufacturing operations. Jamie is married with three children and lives in Geelong.

Sarah Cirillo

Mechanical Engineer, Thales

Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours) 
Bachelor of Finance 

Sarah completed her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and Finance in 2014 at the University of Adelaide, having undertaken her honours year in 2013.  She researched Autonomous Underwater Vehicles to design a fully agile vessel with six degrees of freedom.

Throughout her studies, Sarah undertook many extracurricular programs, including starting the Adelaide chapter for Robogals; inspiring and teaching young females about engineering, and a career in Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

In 2015 she started her graduate engineering position with Thales, in Protected Vehicles.

Shaun Cumming

Managing Director, Barwon Water

With a 20+ year career in the water industry, Shaun has worked across both public and private sectors. He has extensive experience in strategy, operations, construction, business development and large-scale project delivery.

Shaun is an active member of the Torquay community and has a keen interest in renewable energy and the environment.

Ana Erceg

Manager, Future Network Programs, AusNet Services (Deakin Engineering Graduate Representative)

Paul Northey

Managing Director, Lower Murray Water

Paul has extensive experience in service and infrastructure delivery across transport, water, sustainability and related sectors. Prior to leading Lower Murray Water, Paul was Chief Regional Transport with the Victorian Department of Transport and Planning, where he led the operation and maintenance of more than 19,000 kilometres of arterial roads and oversaw more than 1,400 regional bus and ferry contracts.

Paul is a trusted and respected advisor to government ministers, boards and executive teams on operational planning, maintenance and infrastructure projects subject to intense public and political scrutiny.

Karen Miller

Chartered Engineer

Karen is a dynamic, passionate, influential senior leader with over 20 years experience in the water, energy and environment sectors in private and public organisations within Australia and the UK. Karen has a proven record in identifying and driving strategic and operational change and process
improvement in operations, asset management and contract management and is adept at establishing credibility and building rapport quickly with a range of internal and external stakeholders from Board level to front line operations. Being results orientated, Karen delivers outcomes through empowering people, competitive commercial arrangements and setting clear direction. She has extensive commercial, contractual and negotiation experience and is accustomed to working within challenging commercial, political and heavily regulated environments.

Karen’s diverse background spans across engineering, operational, commercial, corporate strategy and change management and performance roles across a number of different industries and organisations providing her with a balanced insight to driving successful competitive business outcomes. She brings to her roles her positive outlook, drive and expertise in delivering key business outcomes through aligning people, improving processes and delivering significant performance improvement by developing strong, high performing teams.

Karen has a Graduate Diploma in Applied Management from Warwick Business School.

Helen Vaughan

Helen Vaughan is an experienced executive having previously been the Deputy Secretary Water and Catchments within the Department of Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, and a number of senior roles in the former Department of Primary Industries and Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Helen has extensive experience in both the New South Wales and Victorian public service in policy, research and policy implementation roles focused mainly on natural resource and emergency management.

Marina Milic

Wood Technologist – National R&D AKD Softwoods

Deakin membership


Head of Engineering
School of Engineering
Ben Horan

Deputy Head of School / Head of Discipline (Mechanical)
School of Engineering
Tim Hilditch

Associate Head of School, International
Yanan Wang

Associate Head of School, Research
School of Engineering
Mahmud Ashraf

Director (Work Integrated Learning)
School of Engineering
David Morton

Associate Head of School (Teaching & Learning) Student Experience
Kazem Ghabrie

Associate Head of School (Teaching & Learning) Curriculum
Siva Krishnan

Director (Postgraduate Studies)
Michael Pereira

Head of Discipline (Civil & Environmental)
Ashim Debnath

Head of Discipline (Electrical & Electronics & Mechatronics)
Pubudu Pathirana

School Manager
Laura Harman

Technical Manager
Damien Elderfield

Discipline Coordinator (Mechanical)
Mariana Paulino

Engineering Student Representatives
Yiwei Cheng
Lachlan Carboon

EAB Secretariat
Amelia Hartnett