Aurecon appoints new Roads leader ahead of times of significant change
Recognising the increasing pressure on road infrastructure from growing populations and transformative technologies, global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon has appointed Nial O’Brien as Global Service Leader – Roads.
Having been with Aurecon for nearly 13 years and based in Sydney, Nial previously headed up Aurecon’s New South Wales roads group, leading a team of 40 on some of Australia’s biggest and busiest transport infrastructure projects. Prior to that, he had worked in the United Kingdom in construction and in consultancy gaining experience on both road and rail projects.
“Road infrastructure is going through a period of unprecedented change, with growing populations, the inevitable introduction of autonomous vehicles and emerging technologies transforming how we need to plan, design, build and maintain road infrastructure,” said Ben Stapleton, Aurecon’s Managing Director ‒ Infrastructure.
“Nial will play a key role in bringing together the right people on roads projects to ensure that we not only deliver technical excellence to our clients, but also that we help solve their big problems using innovation and emerging technologies while ensuring road infrastructure connects to and communicates with the transport and social infrastructure around it,” added Stapleton.
Nial steps into the role appreciating the challenges ahead for road owners and operators, but excited about the potential to improve the safety and efficiency of our roads, as well as the opportunities for transforming our wider transport infrastructure networks.
“There is obviously a lot of discussion around the impact of autonomous vehicles, and I believe one of the most critical success factors for the effective integration of autonomous vehicles is that we involve the community and stakeholders extensively in those discussions,” commented Nail.
“Effective community and stakeholder consultation ensures we are planning and delivering a future transport network that responds to the needs of users and the broader community, rather than vice versa.”
“Looking to rural and regional areas, improving road safety, particularly heavy haul, is something I am very passionate about – as a former truck driver myself, prior to my engineering career, I strongly believe we can reverse the increasing fatality statistics we see in heavy haul incidents,” he said.
“By leveraging both emerging and existing technologies, learning from best practice overseas (particularly western Europe) and working together to reconsider incentives and regulation, we could stop more preventable deaths on our roads.”
Well known within the sector, Nial is a current Fellow of Roads Australia, a national initiative run by the industry’s peak body that supports the development of the sector’s up-and-coming leaders.
He is an ardent Diversity & Inclusion spokesperson and was selected as one of Aurecon’s first Male Champions of Change, promoting gender diversity and challenging gender discrimination within the industry.
Nial is also actively involved in the Indigenous Australian Engineering School, an annual event established by Engineering Aid Australia to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from around the country to consider engineering careers.
Aurecon is an engineering and infrastructure advisory company, but not as you know it. They reimagine engineering, with clients’ ideas and aspirations to drive all that they do, to co-create clever, innovative solutions to some of the world’s most complex challenges and adding value across the project lifecycle through deep technical and advisory expertise.