Conference Speakers Biographies 2024

2024 Conference Speakers
John Tannock will be speaking on The Foam Bitumen Journey in Ipswich City Council. John Tannock is the Principal Engineer (Pavements) Ipswich City Council.
In this presentation, John will share the learnings both good and bad, in Ipswich’s journey to greater use of foam bitumen in its road pavements. John is the Principal Engineer (Pavements) at Ipswich City Council and has more than fifty years of engineering experience, most of which has been in Local Government.
In 2020, Council made the decision to form a specialist pavement team under John’s leadership. This was due in part to the complexity of emerging technologies but also to the risk inherent in having reduced in-house capabilities which is what happens when engineering staff are only involved in pavement design on a part-time basis.
John has been with Ipswich City Council since 2003 and has occupied positions from Construction Manager, Major Projects Engineer and Program Co-ordinator of the Strategic Roads and Drainage Programs.
Highlights of John’s career have been winning the 1987 National Local Government Innovation award for a project he designed and constructed across the Brisbane River, and the installation of a monument to commemorate the Battle of Oivi/Gorari in PNG.
In his other life, John owns and operates an avocado farm north of Toowoomba and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Natures Fruit Company which is a cooperative company specialising in the packing and marketing of avocados.
Dr Greg Stephenson will be co-presenting Ashish Shah on Pavement Stabilisation as a Sustainable Pavement Recycling Treatment Option for Brisbane City Council. Dr Greg Stephenson is a Senior Engineer-Civil Infrastructure, Asset Management for Brisbane City Council.
He has spent over 4 decades working for local government authorities, federal government and consulting engineers in the road and airport construction and maintenance areas. Before joining BCC, he spent 5 years at Queensland University of Technology undertaking asphalt related research. He commenced with BCC in 2004 as a Pavement Design Engineer before moving to the Asset Management Branch around 18 years ago.
He coordinates the Asphalt Innovations Group to foster research and development activities for asphalt and pavement materials within Council.
He is a Member of Engineers Australia, Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) and Registered Professional Engineer, Queensland (RPEQ - Civil).
Ashish Shah will be co-presenting with Dr Greg Stephenson on Pavement Stabilisation as a Sustainable Pavement Recycling Treatment Option for Brisbane City Council. Ashish Shah is the Lead Engineer, Strategic Asset Management, Asset Management for the Brisbane City Council.
Ashish has an interest and experience with transport infrastructure asset management, its data, and asset information systems. He has been in Local Government, Consulting and Research roles for over last 20+ years in Australia. He joined Brisbane City Council as Lead Engineer – Strategic Asset Management 4 years ago.
He is a Member of Engineers Australia, Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) and Registered Professional Engineer, Queensland (RPEQ - Civil).
Dr Asanka De Silva will be presenting Enhancing Long-Term Performance of Unsealed Roads in Australia: The Use of Crushed Rock Treated with Anionic Bituminous Emulsion.
After completing his Bachelor's in Civil Engineering in Sri Lanka, Asanka has worked as a Structural Engineer for about one and a half years before moving to Australia to pursue tertiary education. His experience includes modelling and analysis of high-rise buildings, structural design of high-rise buildings, foundation modelling and design, earthquake and wind analysis, and blast analysis. He is very competent in software packages, AutoCAD, Plaxis, SOLIDWORKS, MIDAS, SAP2000, Space Gass, ETABS, Ansys Fluid, Ansys LS Dyna, Abacus, etc.
Asanka completed his Doctorate in Civil Engineering in 2023 at Monash University. His thesis title is ‘Advanced Characterisation of Bituminous Emulsion Treated Crushed Rock for Dust Suppression and Enhanced Mechanical Performance’.
Asanka is also an accredited level 1 and 2 bridge inspector
Joseph Rugari will be co-presenting with Adrian D'Amico on Kangaroo Island, Pavement Rehabilitation: A Case Study of What Can Be Achieved Using Pavement Recycling Technologies. Joseph is the South Australian Stabilisation Manager for the Downer Group.
He brings a wealth of experience in managing high-profile civil construction projects from his tenure in local government. Transitioning to Downer in 2018 as a Project Engineer, he swiftly ascended to assume the role of SA Stabilisation Manager. In this capacity, Joseph leads project delivery and drives stabilisation initiatives across the South Australian market. With passion for providing end-to-end project management solutions, Joseph is dedicated to collaborating closely with clients to ensure the delivery of quality, fit-for-purpose, and cost-effective projects.
Adrian D'Amico will be co-presenting with Joseph Rugari on Kangaroo Island, Pavement Rehabilitation: A Case Study of What Can Be Achieved Using Pavement Recycling Technologies.
Adrian is a highly motivated project manager with great experience managing pavement rehabilitation projects in regional and remote environments. Adrian commenced working with Downer in 2019 as a Site Engineer and quickly made a mark for being a highly capable and systematic engineer. In a quick transition, he was made Project Manager 18 months later. Since then, Adrian has successfully delivered multiple pavement centric projects around the country for various road authorities and other organisations.
Dr Didier Bodin will be co-presenting with Damian Volker on Towards improved thickness design procedures for foamed bitumen stabilised layers: new experimental findings .
Dr Didier Bodin is a Principal Technology Leader at the National Transportation Research Organisation (NTRO). He joined NTRO in 2010 after working for 10 years as a researcher at the French National Transport Laboratory (LCPC).
As part of the Pavement Research Team, his main activities are focused on several areas of pavement technology, including the laboratory material characterisation and field performance evaluation of unbound granular material resilience under varying moisture conditions. He managed and conducted a series of full-scale pavement testing trials using the Accelerated Loading Facility (ALF) to assess the performance of unbound and stabilised sealed granular pavements. His strong interest in sustainable practice is applied to viable, low whole-of-life cost technologies including recycled material solutions and in-situ recycling (re-use) of pavement materials.
Damian Volker will be co-presenting with Dr Didier Bodin on Towards improved thickness design procedures for foamed bitumen stabilised layers: new experimental findings .
Damian will also be presenting individually on The Use of 500mm Deep Lime Stabilisation as an Unsuitable Support Condition Treatment in Construction on TMR Stabilisation Projects.
Damian Volker is the Principal Engineer for the Pavements Rehabilitation Section of the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR).
Damian joined DTMR over 18 years ago as a Cadet Materials Technologist, spending the first half of his career in the TMR laboratories, also performing detailed pavement investigations and as an asphalt Roadworks Inspector. This foundation developed a valuable understanding and knowledge of material properties and failure mechanisms.
With a mind for innovation and environmentally sustainable solutions, Damian has provided valuable technical input into all aspects of stabilisation projects, including detailed pavement investigations, design, testing, construction, training, performance research and development of DTMR specifications.
Damian was the inaugural 'Young Stabiliser of the Year' award winner in 2015 and is a member of the Auststab National Technical Working Group.
Dr James Grenfell will be co-presenting with Dr Negin Zhalehjoo and Meera Creagh on Recycled material blends for mechanical and cementitious stabilisation.
Dr James Grenfell is a Principal Professional Leader at the National Transport Research Organisation (NTRO). He has been working within the Sustainability and Materials Performance team since the beginning of 2020. He leads the Sustainable Infrastructure Materials portfolio, which has allowed him to apply his pavement engineering expertise to drive sustainability and resilience outcomes, while contributing to research into recycled materials use. He has led several national projects including Use of Crushed Glass in Road Infrastructure and undertaken collaborative investigations into the use of recycled and reclaimed plastic in safe, sustainable future road infrastructure.
Previously, he was working within the ARRB pavement structures team having joined ARRB in February 2017. His work focused on national projects to improve knowledge of foamed bitumen-stabilised pavements and the use of lightly-cemented materials in pavement construction. He has also worked extensively on the beneficial addition of recycled crushed glass to asphalt to help reduce waste stockpiles.
Dr Grenfell has published more than 100 journal papers and peer reviewed conference papers. He is a Director-at-large of the International Society of Asphalt Pavements, on the Editorial board for the Proceedings of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists and a member of the TRB Asphalt Pavement Design and Rehabilitation (AKP30) committee. He is involved in several RILEM Technical Committees looking at bituminous and asphaltic materials. He is member of the Standards Australia Committee CE-012 Aggregates and Rock for Engineering Purposes. Most recently he has been appointed Technical Committee Chair of the Road Engineering Association of Asia and Australasia (REAAA) and as a committee member of PIARC TC 3.5 Road Infrastructure for Road Transport Decarbonisation.
Dr Negin Zhalehjoo will be co-presenting with Dr James Grenfell and Meera Creagh on Recycled material blends for mechanical and cementitious stabilisation.
Dr Negin Zhalehjoo is a Senior Technology Leader at ARRB | NTRO with more than 11 years of combined industry, research, and academic experience. Since she joined the NTRO pavement team in 2019, Negin has been technically leading several Austroads and National Asset Centre of Excellence (NACoE) projects dealing with pavement material characterisation, recycled materials, pavement performance and modelling, stabilised materials, and development of new material performance relationships for asphalt/pavement materials. Prior to joining NTRO, Negin conducted her PhD research project on the characterisation of the deformation behaviour of unbound granular materials in addition to pavement response to load and performance modelling/prediction in collaboration with ARRB. Negin completed her bachelor and master degrees in civil engineering and geotechnical engineering, respectively. Negin has a passion for research and the ongoing extension of pavement engineering knowledge. The outcomes of her industry and research projects are published in journals, conference proceedings, and as Austroads and NACoE research reports.
Meera Creagh will be co-presenting with Dr James Grenfell and Dr Negin Zhalehjoo on Recycled material blends for mechanical and cementitious stabilisation.
Meera Creagh is a Principal Engineer with the Pavement Rehabilitation Section of the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR). Meera has worked within DTMR for more than 20 years in the fields of geotechnical and pavement engineering, with extensive work in risk, slope stability, unbound granular materials, stabilisation and pavement investigation and design. She has undertaken post graduate study including a Research Masters in Unbound Granular Pavements and Risk with University of Queensland; and a Masters of Engineering Science in Geotechnical Engineering with University of New South Wales.
Dr Ian van Wijk will be presenting on Comments on the Australian Structural Pavement Design Procedure for Lightly Bound Cemented Materials.
Dr Ian van Wijk is a Senior Principal Pavement Engineer at FSG Geotechnics. He is a pavement management and pavement engineering specialist with post-graduate degrees from Purdue University (Indiana, USA) and the University of Queensland (Australia). His nearly 40 years’ experience as consultant spans a wide range of countries and includes the application of appropriate design technologies for the maintenance and design of all pavement types, as well as the related sustainability aspects. He is Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland and has authored or co-authored around 50 technical papers as well as a chapter in a highway engineering handbook.

Major General Jake Ellwood(rtd) Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Reconstruction Authority.
As Chief Executive Officer since March 2023, Major General Jake Ellwood (Rtd) is responsible for ensuring the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) delivers as lead state agency for disaster recovery and resilience. QRA has helped impacted communities recover from more than 100 disaster events since its establishment in 2011.
Major General Jake Ellwood’s distinguished Australian Defence Force (ADF) career included serving as: State Recovery Coordinator, 2021-22 Southern Queensland Floods; Commander of 1st Division (Brisbane); Deputy Chief of Army; and ADF National Coordinator Black Summer Bushfires 2019-20. He has served in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and East Timor.

Dennis Walsh Chief Engineer of Transport and Main Roads.
Dennis has worked in the transport sector both public and private for the past 35 years. He oversees all technical matters as they relate to the delivery of the Queensland Transport and Road Infrastructure Program.
A Chartered Professional Engineer, member of Engineers Australia and graduate of Australian Institute of company directors
Has worked across areas including strategic planning, traffic and transport planning, road safety policy and engineering, road design, road operations, rail regulation, heavy vehicle operaitons and Intelligent Transport Systems. He has contributed to a range of national groups and is the Queensland Director on the ANCAP Board, a board member and Vice President of ITS Australia. Has recently been appointed as a Board member and Interim Chair of Transmax and Queensland's board Austroads board member. He is also on the interim board of CCAT. He is a honoury member of Institute of Public Works Engineers Australia.
He is also the recipient of the outstanding QUT Alumni Award 2021 and the Engineers Australia National Transport Medal 2023.
Dennis is committed to bringing together skills and knowledge of his team and their partners to embrace new technologies, engage with customers and drive new ideas into action for benefit of the community.
Damien Edwards will be presenting on Pacific Freight Terminal – Roadway F – Foamed Bitumen Insitu Recycling.
Damien Edwards is the National Technical Manager for Australia, working for Hiways Group. His experience has been gained through working in local government, state government, consulting, and construction companies. Over the past 23 years Damien has developed his technical skills in civil engineering by working on complex projects being involved at all the different phases, from planning to implementation. His career has been focused on pavement design and engineering/construction. His skills sets lie in pavement design and assessments of heavy-duty pavements and roads whilst focusing on recycling through stabilisation of existing materials using a range of binders.
Prior to joining Hiway Stabilizers, Damien was Technical Manager for Fulton Hogan of South Australia managing quality and systems and providing technical advice on specifications and managing laboratories for asphalt plants in South Australia and Northern Territory.