Advisory board

The School of Engineering's advisory board 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.

Recognition for our board

Engineers Australia recently awarded specific commendation for our enthusiastic and strategic advisory board.

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

Managing Director and CEO, AusNet Services

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

Nino has over 30 years’ experience in the energy industry, including numerous senior management roles with AusNet Transmission Group Pty Ltd (formerly SPI PowerNet Pty Ltd), including his current role as Managing Director since 2003.

He is a Director of Energy Networks Association Limited and a member of the National Energy Market Operations Committee. He is also Chair of the Deakin University Engineering Advisory Board.

Nino serves as a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Fellow of Engineers Australia. He was also formerly Deputy Chairman and Director of the Energy Supply Association of Australia.

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

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.

Mark Brennan

Deputy Director - Technical & Engineering, Thales Australia

Mark is a Senior Engineering Manager with over 22 years’ experience in the Australian Defence industry. He has worked across engineering domains primarily in Test & Evaluation and Systems Engineering, with 16 years in Thales across multiple business areas.

Mark's key responsibilities include:

  • Providing technical leadership for the engineering function spanning design practices, system engineering, system integration, test & evaluation, R&D, and configuration management for the Protected Vehicles (PRV) Business Line.
  • Holding delegated Design Authority and being responsible for the technical integrity of solutions and services.
  • Being the Job Family Champion for Thales Australia’s Systems Engineering group.
  • Project initiation – including defining team structures and skill requirements, and estimating, budgeting and scheduling for complex system developments.
  • Closing out development projects by achieving customer acceptance through strategically planned T&E programs.

Some of Mark’s recent projects have included:

  • Engineering Manager for the product development of the Hawkei Protected Light Vehicle offered for Land 121 Phase 4 MSA2 and Risk Reduction Activities (RRA).
  • Engineering Manager for the product development of the Bushmaster
    Single Cab Utility Vehicle offered for Land 121 Phase 3.
  • Design Authority for multiple programs, including the FFG Combat System Upgrade and Land 125 Phase 3C Lethality Contract (Stage 1).
  • Test & Trials Manager for programs such as the ADATS Air Traffic Management Project, AIR 87 ARH and the ANZAC Ship Shore Installation Project (for CSC).

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.

Paul Northey

General Manager Infrastructure Services

BEng (Civil), MEng (Env), MBA, GAICD, FIE Aust

With over 20 years experience in the Victorian water industry, Paul is Barwon Water’s General Manager Infrastructure Services, responsible for the delivery and operation of water, sewerage and recycled water assets, with an annual operating budget of over $50 million.

Previously, Paul was Barwon Water’s General Manager Capital Projects and was instrumental in the establishment of the Barwon Water Alliance, which is delivering more than 120 projects over a 5 year period. In 2011-12, Paul’s group delivered over $220 million of capital works expenditure, including $95 million by Barwon Water Alliance.

Paul has previously held managerial roles in corporate and strategic planning. Paul has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering; Master’s Degrees in Environmental Engineering and Business Administration; is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia.

Robert Merola

Managing Director, SEW-EURODRIVE Pty Ltd.

Robert joined SEW-EURODRIVE in 1983 after a 10 year career with a local manufacturer where he completed a Fitter & Turner apprenticeship. Robert’s ability to work in a growing, fast upscale environment, assured his development from a capable individual to a well respected leader.

He became General Manager in 1986 and continued to oversee the growth of this Australian subsidiary of a German Family owned multinational company.

He is currently Managing Director, a position he has held since 1997 and has continued to build a strong team and business model in Australia.

Employing over 200 personal in 9 sites around Australia, SEW-EURODRIVE continues to dominate the Power Transmission Industry with its unprecedented service levels, stock holdings and solution solving abilities.

William Tieppo


William is a career professional with 20 years’ experience in the public and private sector, with the majority of this time spent project managing the planning and delivery of major transport infrastructure projects in Victoria. He was also VicRoads' Regional Director - South Western Region for three years, where he was responsible for the management and operation of the state's arterial road network in South Western Victoria.

At Transport for Victoria, he is responsible for providing strategic direction and oversight to the delivery and integration of major transport infrastructure projects being delivered across Victoria, into the Victorian Transport System.

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.

Richard Taube

Richard Taube is a Mechanical Engineer and has worked in the Automotive industry in
Australia since 1994. His Postgraduate Research was in the field of Sheetmetal Stampings
Optimisation and he has been active in BIW structures design, development and testing of
the Ford Territory, Falcon and T6 Ranger since 1999.
He currently manages the collaborative University Research Projects for Ford of Australia
Pty Ltd and acts in a technical capacity for the BIW Product Development teams. He has an
ongoing interest in applied research and collaboration between industry and research
schools as well as advanced BIW structures planning, development and cost optimisation.

Deakin members

Head of Engineering
School of Engineering
Aman Maung Than Oo
Executive Dean
Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment
Karen Hapgood 
Associate Head of School, Teaching and Learning
School of Engineering
Tim Hilditch
Deputy Dean
Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment
Malcolm Campbell
School Manager
School of Engineering
Monica Moore
School of Engineering
David Morton 
Associate Head of School, Curriculum
School of Engineering
Bre-Anne Sainsbury
Student representative
Antonia Erceg