Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia appoints female president

First ever female president appointed at Institute of Public Works Engineering

Civil Engineer, Rita Excell, has been appointed the first ever female president of The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA).

The Institute is is the peak association for the professionals who deliver engineering services to communities in Australia and New Zealand and provides regular continuing professional development, conferences, technical publications to its members and advocacy on their behalf.

Excell moves into the presidential role after holding the position of IPWEA South Australian Division President since 2016, where she was the first female to hold that post.

Excell has degrees in Civil Engineering and is currently the Executive Director of the Australia & New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative, an industry advisory body that services the wide range of automated vehicle activities. 

In a public statement, Excell thanked outgoing IPWEA President Mat Greskie and outlined some of her future plans in the role: “In 2020, we have an impressive schedule of activities and projects for 2020, including many training and development opportunities for members, both face-to-face and online.

“I am impressed at how agile we are as an organisation to be able to offer a range of topics and delivery mechanisms to support the diverse way people want to receive information.”

In 2016, when Excell was interviewed about her appointment as the first woman to be Division President of South Australia for the IPWEA and spoke about her advocacy for gender equality in her industry.

“I would really like to encourage more women to go into the STEM areas,” she said at the time. “I really support the government with their focus on the innovation agenda that’s just been released. I encourage young students to really explore the maths and sciences – I’ve never regretted the direction that I took.

“Now, when I look at the people I deal with, it’s getting close to about 40% females. In our driverless vehicle initiative we have an executive steering committee, and 60% of the people on that board are females.” 

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