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Construction Professional of the Year Award

This award highlights who has advanced our sector through their leadership and commitment to the values that we share.

Aaron Staunton

Aaron Staunton is a HSSE manager for Clough’s Lombrum Infrastructure Project in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Since joining Clough in 2021, he has demonstrated outstanding leadership. Under his guidance, the project achieved over 1 million work hours without a Lost Time Injury (LTI) in the challenging and remote environment of Manus Island. Leveraging his cultural experience, Aaron worked tirelessly to establish a team of national HSSE advisors to drive safety initiatives, training and awareness.  

Beyond work, Aaron has proven his commitment to the wellbeing of the Lombrum workforce, their families and surrounding communities. He has made charitable donations and supported initiatives such as the Lombrum Sharks Rugby Team.  

The inherent challenges of working within a remote PNG community were exacerbated in late 2022 when Clough went into voluntary administration. This business decision placed significant strain on community ties and Aaron was instrumental in retaining positive relations because of the goodwill that had been generated in the months prior.  

After the project was paused, he returned to site at his own request to better understand and manage the community needs. Aaron’s dedication to positive community relations and safety culture have been pivotal in the project’s ongoing success. 

Andrew Millington

Andrew Millington is a seasoned construction professional with over 25 years’ experience and currently serves as a general superintendent at BMD.  

He has contributed to the successful delivery of multiple projects over his career at BMD, including the Carmichael Rail Network, the Bruce Highway – Boundary Road Interchange project, the Legacy Way tunnel and Brisbane Airport Corporation’s new parallel runway. 

Over the past year, he has been leading a team of approximately 500 people on the Cooroy-to-Curra Gympie Bypass project, displaying exemplary leadership in project planning, program management, cost control, HR management, safety practices, and quality control.  

Andrew demonstrates genuine care and compassion, prioritising his team’s wellbeing through engagement and support. A good listener and counsellor, he creates a safe space for open conversations, emphasising mental health. Andrew organises monthly BBQs and collaborates with Mates in Construction to promote helpful resources. His commitment extends to volunteering with the Coast Guard, fundraising, and supporting community projects.  

Passionate about the industry’s future, Andrew focuses on workforce development, upskilling labourers to become qualified tradesmen, and promoting construction careers in schools. He actively leads sustainability initiatives and contributes to disaster response, showcasing dedication to both industry improvement and community welfare. 

Cameron Taylor

Cameron Taylor is the manager of engineering for CPB Contractor’s QLD & PNG unit, overseeing major projects such as Cross River Rail and providing corporate leadership on CPB Contractors/ National Engineering Steering Committee during the past 12 months.  

With 30 years’ experience across design and construction of major infrastructure projects both in Australia and abroad, his open and collaborative leadership style and solution-focused approach ensure project delivery certainty, despite recent national and global resource shortage challenges and cost escalation.  

Cameron actively promotes open communication across the construction industry and has spearheaded innovations such as updating CPB’s management systems and standardising reporting for engineering performance.  

He prioritises team wellbeing, mentors young talent, and builds project sustainability through digital workflows. Cameron has been a key contributor in the training of more than 1000 CPB Contractors engineers and has managed the rollout of the company’s credentialling program with Engineers Australia. 

As an active participant at industry events and leadership committees, Cameron is proud of the city-shaping infrastructure he has delivered to date and looks forward to being part of a sustainable and growing Queensland industry in the years to come.  

Cherie Ellis

Cherie Ellis, Fulton Hogan’s people and culture manager, has transformed workplace dynamics and is responsible for developing and delivering people and culture strategies for 300 employees across Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.  

Under her leadership, the company’s culture thrived during rapid growth, evident in overwhelmingly positive employee survey results.  

A confident leader and trusted advisor, she achieves successful project outcomes by successfully managing HR and IR challenges, such as changes in senior management, restructures, redundancies, intense union activity, enterprise agreement renegotiations, and joint venture cultural alignment.  

Cherie is passionate about leaving a lasting legacy in communities by providing opportunities for under-represented groups and inspiring the next generation. In the past year, Cherie has implemented and contributed to several policies aimed at improving fairness, equity and awareness. She has rolled out numerous trials, programs and initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion within the organisation and the construction industry. 

To help create sustainability for women in the construction industry, Cherie established a Women in Construction Working group within Fulton Hogan’s Northern and Central region. Her goal is to attract and retain female talent to the construction industry. 

Nick Hamilton

Nick Hamilton is a technical director in GHD’s Dams Business Group in Brisbane. He has over 20 years’ experience in structural design across various industries, specialising in dams and weirs.  

Over the past three years, Nick has undertaken the roles of structural design manager and CPS lead for the $360 million Rookwood Weir Alliance. He played a vital role in managing the quality and facilitating the construction of the weir, earning recognition as a leader, role model and structural engineering subject matter expert. 

Nick’s calm communication style and rational approach have built strong relationships and earned the trust and respect of the project team.  A key challenge on the project was the strength and durability of the concrete due to high and differential concrete temperatures occurring during curing. Nick led the initiative of developing innovative concrete mix designs, resulting in enhanced workability, reduced costs, and improved environmental sustainability. 

Despite the project’s demanding 24/7 schedule, Nick’s commitment and mentorship have been unwavering, contributing to a safe and healthy work environment. His efforts were pivotal in enabling its successful completion and achieving an ‘Excellent’ ISC design rating for the Rookwood Weir. 

Sam Bates

Sam Bates is the Bielby’s pre-contracts manager at Bielby. Leveraging 20 years of hands-on construction experience, he leads a high-performing team, which has secured major projects such as the Inland Rail Civil Works Package and the Bruce Highway Cooroy-to-Curra Section D. 

Sam’s exceptional communication skills and ability to simplifying complex details sets him apart. He facilitates seamless transitions between pre-contracts and on-site work, creating a supportive and integrated work environment. He values listening and learning from others and prioritises the wellbeing of his colleagues, making him a respected leader within Bielby. 

Sam’s industry knowledge positions him as an inspiring mentor. He proactively supports new engineers and shares insights and guidance with aspiring professionals. His commitment to supporting a young workforce through technological transitions and educational initiatives reinforces his dedication to industry capacity and capability. 

Beyond his professional commitments, Sam’s active engagement with the local scout unit is a clear testament to his dedication to community wellbeing. He serves as an assistant venturer scout leader and has secured grants for transformative expeditions for young people. 

Sam’s commitment to professional development and wellbeing sets a high leadership standard for the industry and broader community. 

Tony Nixon

Tony Nixon is a Seymour Whyte superintendent with 25 years’ construction expertise, specialising in concrete works and providing efficient solutions that uphold high quality, productivity and standards.  

Tony leads a national team of over 40 people, fostering a trusting and loyal environment. His focus on creating a growth-oriented workplace significantly enhances team progression and wellbeing. An inspiring leader, Tony’s dedication to people, innovation and sustainable practices have profoundly impacted Queensland and Australia’s construction sector. 

Notable successes include setting a record in concrete paving history during the Pacific Highway’s Woolgoolga to Ballina Upgrade and a pioneering the use of 100% recycled plastic fibre reinforcement in place of traditional steel in the Bruce Highway Upgrade between Edmonton and Gordonvale.  

This year, Tony has been extensively involved in high-risk, traffic-intensive motorway projects across Australia’s east coast. These include the Bruce Highway stretching from Cairns to Forest Glen, the M1 Pacific Motorway at Varsity Lakes, Burleigh, and Palm Beach, the Sydney Gateway, and the new M12 Motorway in Sydney’s west. 

Tony displays a deep commitment to the construction industry, particularly sustainability. His innovative approach, dedication to skill development, and focus on environmental sustainability have contributed significantly to the industry’s growth.  

Our members.

Acciona Infrastructure Australia
Bielby Holdings
BMD Constructions
Civil Mining and Construction Pty Ltd
CPB Contractors
Decmil Group Limited
Fulton Hogan
Georgiou Group
John Holland
Martinus Rail Pty Ltd
McConnell Dowell
Seymour Whyte Constructions