Hon. Mark Birrell

Chairman, PostSuper OR Infrastructure Partnerships Australia

Mark is an experienced corporate advisor. He is currently chairman of a number of organisations, including Regis Healthcare Limited and the Australian Payments Council. Mark has also served as the Chairman of Infrastructure Australia, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, the Port of Melbourne Corporation, and Evans & Peck Limited. Mark has deep experience in policy, having served as the Victorian Minister for Major Projects, and Minister for Industry, Science & Technology.

Christian “Boo” Boucousis

Managing Director, Afterburner Australia

Christian spent 10 years as a fighter pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force, and is now an entrepreneur, author and publisher. He runs Afterburner Australia, a team of former RAAF pilots who are passionate about using their training to help business professionals. Christian is also the CEO of Mode, an innovative property development group. Mode is currently developing Australia’s tallest prefabricated hotel in the Perth CBD.

Tim Chapman

Leader, Infrastructure Design Group, Arup Group Limited

Tim leads a group of 400 designers, working on big infrastructure. He explores the major issues facing the construction industry and how it will serve society into the future. He was even interviewed by a robot on the AI in infrastructure design. With a special interest in the development of people at all levels, Tim explores the impact of new technologies on infrastructure careers of the future.

Professor Elizabeth Croft

Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Monash University

Elizabeth advances the cause of women’s career progression in engineering. An internationally respected researcher and teacher, she has earned considerable acclaim for her work in human robotic interaction. She’s also worked at the prestigious University of British Columbia and was Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council.

Michael Donovan

Business mentor

Michael has 45 years of international business experience and has worked with over 100 Australian CEOs and board members. He was CEO of the largest accommodation chain in Australia and chair of Tourism Noosa. He also created Queensland’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Michael is an international business mentor with a simple goal: to contribute something of value and be there when the going gets tough.

Sir Rod Eddington AO

Chairman, J P Morgan’s Asia Pacific Advisory Council

Rod has is internationally recognised for achievements across transport, aviation and business. Rod was awarded a knighthood by the British Government, as well as being made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). He was CEO of Cathay Pacific, Ansett Airlines and British Airways before retiring in 2005. Today he serves as a member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), as well as other committees and boards.

Professor Roy Green

Emeritus Professor, UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney

Roy has spent his working life advising on innovation, manufacturing and management. He has worked in universities, business and government in Australia and overseas. Roy has served on many industry and innovation bodies, has led Australian participation in a global study of management and productivity, and was an expert advisor to the 2015 Senate inquiry into Australia’s innovation system.

Professor Elanor Huntington

Dean, ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science

Elanor has dedicated her working life to encouraging young women to choose careers in STEM. She is the first female Dean of Engineering at the ANU. She’s also a program manager in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology. At present, Elanor is researching the control of quantum systems, and especially the interface between theory and applications.

Dr Christopher Jeffery

CEO and Co-founder, Field Orthopaedics

Chris has studied across electronics, medicine and business. While in the Australian Army, he developed an AI-based software package for more rapid troop deployment. After graduating from medicine, he worked in orthopaedics at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. He then undertook a PHD in bionics, exploring the integration between humans and robots. In his business career, he has created immersive cameras that operate like the human eye, medical devices to treat wrist arthritis, and advanced drug coating to prevent surgical related infections.

Stephen Langton

Managing Director, Board & CEO Advisory Group, Russell Reynolds Associates

For more than two decades, Stephen has advised the boards of Fortune 500 companies on leadership, governance and risk management. Stephen is a regular guest lecturer at business schools and international business forums internationally. He’s also a co-author of the book Redefining Leadership, looking at western leadership in Asian markets.

Ray Kurzweil

Futurist, Author, Inventor and Director of Engineering, Google (USA)

Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions. Called ``the restless genius`` by The Wall Street Journal and ``the ultimate thinking machine`` by Forbes magazine, he was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the ``rightful heir to Thomas Edison.`` PBS selected him as one of the ``sixteen revolutionaries who made America.``

Ray was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.

Among Ray’s many honors, he received a Grammy Award for outstanding achievements in music technology; he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds twenty-one honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents.

Ray has written five national best-selling books, including New York Times best sellers The Singularity Is Near (2005) and How To Create A Mind (2012). He is Co-Founder and Chancellor of Singularity University and a Director of Engineering at Google heading up a team developing machine intelligence and natural language understanding.

Kristen Myles

Chartered Professional Engineer, Major Projects Team, WSP

Kristen specialises in the design and leadership of major infrastructure and transport projects in Canada and Australia. Kristen was Design Manager on the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade project. She has also been recognised for her project and controls management approach as part of her role with the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link project. Kristen is the current vice-chair of Engineers Australia’s College of Leadership and Management – Sydney Division.

Jonar Nader

Digital Age Philosopher, Author and Principal, Logictivity

Jonar has 37 years’ business experience, having worked as IBM’s E-business Software Manager, Network Computing Manager and Consumer Manager for Asia Pacific South. He also held senior positions at Acer Computer, Compaq/HP and Myer. An author and presenter, Jonar consults on everything from innovation and leadership to terrorism, and politics. He also founded Logictivity, a management consulting firm, where he’s been Chairman for 18 years.

Professor Peter Newman AO

Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University

Peter is one of Australia’s most widely published authorities on sustainable design. He has written 20 books and over 340 papers on sustainable cities. In 2014, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions to urban design and sustainable transport. Peter is a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s a new study for achieving a zero-carbon future.

Richard Palmer

Director of Sustainability, WSP

Richard is an engineer by training, a consultant by profession, and an ecologist at heart. He has spent over 13 years working in industrialised and emerging economies, using sustainable design and urban resilience approaches to improve built environments. As Director of Sustainability at WSP, Richard advises on green buildings, sustainable infrastructure and urban renewal projects. His multidisciplinary team works on increasing sustainability across the built environment.

Michael Pascoe

Contributing Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age

With more than four decades in newspaper, broadcast and online journalism, Michael Pascoe is one of Australia's most sought-after finance and economics commentators. He is a regular commentator on Channel 7’s Sunrise and the ABC's The Drum, bringing perspective and rare humour to the ‘dismal science’. Michael also pioneered specialist finance journalism in commercial broadcasting – first in radio, then with Channel 9, Sky News and Channel 7.

Hartley Pike

Founder, Construction Cloud

Hartley grew up working in his dad’s construction business in the school holidays. He went on to study civil and structural engineering at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), then worked as a construction engineer with Abigroup and Lendlease’s engineering division. Now he runs Construction Cloud, developing project management software for construction projects.

Geoffrey  Robertson Q.C.

Human Rights Barrister and host of television series ``Hypothetical``

Geoffrey Robertson QC is founder and head of Doughty Street Chambers and has argued many landmark human rights cases in British and Commonwealth Courts and the European Court of Human Rights. He has served as first President of the UN's Special Court for Sierra Leone and is one of the three ``distinguished jurists`` on the United Nations internal justice council
He has had a distinguished career as a trial and appellate counsel, an international judge, and author of leading textbooks. He has argued many landmark cases in media, constitutional and criminal law, in the European Court of Justice; the European Court of Human Rights; the Supreme Court (House of Lords and Privy Council); the UN War Crimes courts; the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and in the highest courts of many commonwealth countries.

He has argued hundreds of death sentence appeals, prosecuted Hastings Banda, defended Salman Rushdie, Mike Tyson and Julian Assange and acted for Human Rights Watch in the proceedings against Genera lPnochet. He is a Master of the Middle Temple and author of Crimes Against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice; The Case of the Pope; Mullahs without Mercy: Human Rights and Nuclear Weapons; and The Tyrannicide Brief. In 2011

Geoffrey has, as a jury advocate, appeared in many criminal trials at the Old Bailey and libel trials in the High Court. He has appeared in several hundred reported cases in the Court of Appeal (both civil and criminal divisions) and in judicial reviews in the High Court, and in subsequent appeals. He has a large advisory practice, for clients including governments, media corporations, NGO’s and local councils.

Geoffrey was awarded the New York Bar Association prize for achievement in international law and affairs.

Geoffrey hosted an Australian television series of programmes called Geoffrey Robertson's Hypotheticals. These shows invite notable people, often including former and current political leaders, to discuss contemporary issues by assuming imagined identities in hypothetical situations.

Rob Sindel

Managing Director, CSR Limited

Rob’s 30-year career in the construction industry started with Pioneer in Australia before moving to the UK. There he was managing director of Hanson UK, a subsidiary of global building materials company HeidelbergCement Group. Rob joined CSR in 2008 and is now Managing Director. He believes the business community can help address social inequality, and works with not-for-profit organisations to mentor young people in areas of high need.

Major General Marcus Thompson, AM

Deputy Chief Information Warfare, Australian Defence Force

Since graduating from the Royal Military College - Duntroon in 1988, Major General Marcus Thompson has held commands at every level in the Australian Army and has been deployed on several overseas missions. As Deputy Chief Information Warfare, Marcus oversees four branches: Information Warfare Capability; Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) and Battle Management Capability; Capability Support Directorate; and the Joint Cyber Unit. Marcus also holds a PhD in cyber security from the University of New South Wales, and is a Member of the Order of Australia.

Admiral Chris Barrie AC

RAN Former Chief of the Australian Defence Force

Admiral Chris Barrie AC was a career naval officer, rising to become Chief of the Defence Force in 1998. He retired in 2002 after 41 years of active service but continues to share his wealth of knowledge, including through Oxford University and the National Defense University in Washington DC.

Chris teaches Command, Leadership and Management at the Australian Defence College. He uses his deep knowledge of defence strategy to run demanding scenario exercises and simulations that complement course work.

He is a member of the ADC Forum Advisory Council and has chaired working groups on ‘Strategic Cities’ and ‘Infrastructure and Population’.

Gavin Blakey

Chair of the Board, Engineers without Borders Australia

Gavin Blakey OAM is a man committed to using engineering to make a difference. In 2014, he joined Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB), an organisation that creates social value through humanitarian engineering and development programs. Gavin served as their In-Country Manager for Cambodia and Vietnam in 2015 and is currently Chair of EWB’s Board of Directors.

Passionate about developing leaders and helping people communicate with confidence, Gavin was also the first Australian to be elected International President of Toastmasters International.

Lauren Kajewski

Manager, Sustainable Development, UrbanGrowth NSW

Lauren Kajewski heads up the sustainability team for Landcom, a NSW Government developer. She is deeply interested in the liveability of urban places and building community partnerships. Lauren was the driving force behind Landcom’s Sustainable Places Strategy, which commits to exceptional outcomes in urban development. This strategy is aligned to international frameworks such as COP 21, the Sustainable Development Goals and 100 Resilient Cities.

Through this and other projects, Lauren has helped Landcom achieve international recognition for sustainable development.

Maureen Thurston

Global Director, Design to Innovate, Aurecon

Maureen Thurston is an industrial designer, educator and entrepreneur. She’s also the Global Director of Aurecon’s ‘Design to Innovate’ program, setting out to unlock creativity and cultivate change. And with Aurecon’s top 5 ranking on the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies list, she’s done just that.

Maureen has spent over 30 years helping organisations get ready for the future, by focusing on the relationship between strategy, customer engagement and innovation. She uses ‘design thinking’ as a catalyst for business transformation.

Maureen is also the chair of Australia’s Good Design Council, co-founder of the Design as Strategy Forum and an honorary professor at University of Technology, Sydney.

Neil Greet

Collaborative Outcomes, Innovative Building Resilience

Neil Greet, a Civil Engineer by training, founded Collaborative Outcomes to advise organisations on resilience and humanitarian action. He is a member of the Engineers Australia College of Leadership and Management Board, serving as the Canberra Division President in 2015.

With energy policy very much in the national spotlight, Neil has authored reports addressing energy security and energy resiliency. He also recently delivered advice to the Asia Pacific Economic forum on disaster resilience.

Neil previously served in the Australian Defence Force and was a member of units deployed to Iraq and Timor Leste. He also led projects in remote indigenous communities and played a key role in the Defence’s response to Victoria’s ‘Black Saturday’ disaster.

Shaza Rifi

Engineer, NSW Young Woman of the Year

Shaza Rifi is a Civil Engineer at JAPM, managing construction projects from concept to completion. She works on mixed-use (residential, retail and commercial) developments that also include facilities for the community.

With a strong sense of social justice and understanding the importance of social cohesion, Shaza is dedicated to building better communities and furthering social enterprise.

Shaza is the president of the Muslim Women Association (MWA). Though this role, she is improving services for women and children facing domestic and family violence. Shaza also guides health, wellbeing, and empowerment programs to encourage Muslim women in Australia to get involved in their community.

Sophia The Humanoid Robot

Sophia will be one of the featured speakers at this year’s Australian Engineering Conference. Sophia made her debut at the South by Southwest show in March 2016. Since then, she has
become a much-sought-after media personality, being interviewed on television shows from
the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan. She has also become a keynote speaker and panel member at some of the world’s leading conferences.

Sophia is frequently asked about the possibility of robots one day destroying humans, and she has stretched her growing mind to grapple with the complex issues involved, at times expressing contradictory views. However, in recent months she has settled on a strongly pro-human ethical perspective. In June 2017 at the “AI For Good Global Summit” United Nations event in Geneva, she issued a powerful statement in favor of human-AI cooperation for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Sophia was created by Hanson Robotics, a company renowned for developing the world’s most humanlike robots,endowed with remarkable expressiveness, aesthetics and interactivity.