Ampcontrol Engineers Recognised with Engineers Australia Awards

Ampcontrol engineers have been recognised for their exemplary contribution to innovation, industry and community at the Engineers Australia 2021 Engineer of the Year Awards.

Announced on Wednesday 22 September during an online ceremony, the Awards celebrate the talented innovators in the engineering field and acknowledge the problem solvers who continue to design electrical solutions across the industry.

In 2021, Ampcontrol nominated three of its engineers, of which all were successful as Finalists in the Newcastle Division.

Rod Henderson, Managing Director & CEO said, ‘As Australia’s largest privately-owned electrical engineering company, we have over 250 talented people in engineering roles. We value and celebrate excellence in what they do and their contribution to our business, community, and everyday life. Being recognised by Engineers Australia is a tremendous honour within our industry, and the acknowledgement of our people at the Engineer of the Year Awards is a very proud occasion.”

Richard Griffiths BE(Elect), MIEAust, MIEEE, CPEng, RPEQ
Senior Research and Development Engineer
Finalist 2021 Professional Engineer of the Year Award, Newcastle Division

Richard was the first professional Engineer appointed to Ampcontrol in February 1978 and has been integral in product development and application support for over 43 years.

Thomas Steigler BEng MECH(Hons)/BEng MCHA(Hons)
Research Engineer
2021 Young Professional Engineer of the Year Award, Newcastle Division

Thomas is a Research Engineer who joined Ampcontrol in 2018 while completing his Honours thesis in gas detection with Ampcontrol Electronics.

Thomas has been a significant contributor to several high-profile projects at Ampcontrol. This includes working with Dr Ian Webster, Group Engineering Manager, leading the pneumatic system design, testing and manufacture of the emergency ICU ventilator in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thomas and the team developed a bespoke test platform for the emerging ventilators, worked within a highly compressed timeframe, and faced with a wide range of constraints, such as supply chain uncertainty due to global disruptions and demand on medical equipment parts. Thomas was pivotal to the success of this development, taking on the broader scopes of electrical and mechanical aspects, and was the lead testing engineer in proving the Ventasys ‘ ventilator’s safety and success under the Emergency Exemptions established by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

In September 2020, Thomas’ work focused on a collaborative partnership between Ampcontrol and Australian start-up, LAVO, to successfully produce a domestic hydrogen battery to pioneer the next generation of green energy storage for commercial and residential use. The LAVO Hydrogen Battery is the first residential hydrogen energy storage unit of its kind. Thomas’ work on this project was novel, pioneering, technically challenging and rigorous; undertaking engineering challenges for which there was no prior knowledge.

Thomas Steigler, Ampcontrol Research Engineer, is thrilled to be acknowledged as recipient of this coveted award and said, ‘Winning the award is a great honour and a confidence boost moving forward into new challenges. I would like to be part of Ampcontrol’s future continued diversification. There are so many exciting new opportunities right at our doorstep, and as a group we have the skills not to just take on new opportunities, but become a leader in the field, that others look to.’

Dr Ian Webster (PhD CPEng FIEAust EngExec RPEQ FSEng)
Group Engineering Manager
2021 Professional Engineer of the Year, Newcastle Division

Ian Webster is Group Engineering Manager at Ampcontrol, and Conjoint Senior Fellow, School of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Newcastle.

Ian has held numerous leadership roles with national and international engineering bodies. He is presently the Lead National Technical Delegate to IEC TC31 MT60079-29 (Gas Detection), Chair Standards Australia EL-023 Electrical Equipment for Mines and Quarries, a member JASANZ ANZEx Advisory Committee and a NATA Technical Assessor.

Ian is acknowledged as a subject matter expert in a number of technical fields of electrical engineering related to hazardous (explosive) atmospheres and underground mining, with thirty two (32) invited and peer reviewed technical papers and conference presentations in the past five years alone.

Ian has led several high-profile industrial projects, most recently the development of an ICU Emergency Ventilator; a project motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic, where Ampcontrol was invited to design and manufacture 600 ICU ventilators in 28 days to service a forecast shortfall in NSW hospitals. Ian led a team of clinicians, engineers, and manufacturing staff to successfully demonstrate a working ventilator at the John Hunter Hospital in just 18 days. Ampcontrol was subsequently awarded a contract for design and supply of mid acuity ventilators for the NSW Government.

Dr Ian Webster, Ampcontrol Group Engineering Manager said, ‘It is an honour and a privilege for me to be recipient of this award. Fundamentally, engineering is a collaborative effort and a collective achievement. The spectrum of the engineering profession will illuminate many individual and valuable contributions. For me, winning this award, also recognises all the professionals that I have been fortunate to work with and hopefully to motivate and inspire.’

‘We congratulate Richard, Ian and Thomas on their tremendous professional success, and we look forward to seeing their further development in advancing Ampcontrol’s emerging technologies into the future”, added Rod Henderson.

Dr Ian Webster and Thomas Steigler will now progress to Engineers Australia’s national Australian Engineering Excellence Awards.